Why is the AstraZeneca vaccine a glimmer of hope for poor countries more than others?


Scientists raised questions after the British company, AstraZeneca (which is developing a vaccine in its laboratory and the University of Oxford), announced that its vaccine experiments had resulted in efficacy rates of 90 per cent and 62 per cent, an average of 70 per cent. This was with less efficacy than those announced by “Moderna” and “Pfizer” for their vaccines.

However, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine could prove more valuable to the world than the other two vaccines in the coming months. If questions related to his results are answered and approved, he may be a pioneer in providing vaccine coverage in poor countries where it is urgently needed, according to a report by the American “CNN” network.

* Low price and easy to store

Effectiveness is not the only measure of the quality of the vaccine. AstraZeneca is the least expensive among the possible vaccines.

AstraZeneca said it is progressing rapidly in manufacturing 3 billion doses that will be available in 2021. For comparison, Pfizer – Biontech announced that it will manufacture 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.

AstraZeneca promised to supply hundreds of millions of doses to low- and middle-income countries and to deliver the vaccine on a non-profit basis to those countries forever. The vaccine developed at the University of Oxford is much cheaper than any other vaccine, and most importantly, it will be much easier to transport and distribute in developing countries than its competitors because it does not need to be stored in freezing temperatures.

“AstraZeneca” pledged to provide 300 million doses of its vaccine to “Kovax”, which is a partnership between the Global Vaccine Alliance and “the World Health Organization”. And the “Alliance for Epidemic Preparedness” (CABI) to ensure equitable distribution to 92 developing countries.

“I think it (AstraZeneca vaccine) is the only vaccine that can be used in those places at the moment,” Azra Ghani, head of infectious disease epidemiology at Imperial College London, told CNN, referring to developing countries.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has the advantage of using conventional technology, which makes it cheaper and easier to store and transport. The other two vaccines need to be stored at extremely low temperatures, as the AstraZeneca vaccine can be kept at a temperature of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least six months. However, the Moderna vaccine must be stored at -20 ° C (-4 ° F) – or in refrigerator temperatures for up to 30 days – and the Pfizer-Bionic vaccine must be stored at -75 ° C (-103 ° F), and used in Within five days, once cooled at high temperatures, according to «CNN».

Refrigeration is the standard storage used worldwide to deliver vaccines from central sites to local health clinics. Ghani added that the AstraZeneca vaccine so far, “is the only one that can definitely be delivered to these systems.”

* Calculation of effectiveness

The calculations of the effectiveness of the vaccine adopted by «AstraZeneca – Oxford» are more complex, as the rate of effectiveness of the vaccine reaches an average of 70 per cent, if the results of two different protocols are combined.

The efficacy was 90 percent in volunteers who received an initial half dose, then a full dose a month later. The proportion drops to 62 percent for another group, which received two full doses with a difference of one month between the first and the second. This indicates that the first vaccination method achieved a better immune response.

The head of the British pharmaceutical manufacturer, AstraZeneca, announced Thursday that more research is needed on the vaccine that it develops to fight “Covid-19”, after questions emerged about the protection it could provide. “Now that we have found what appears to be more effective, we have to verify that this is correct, so we need to conduct an additional study,” CEO Pascal Sorio told Bloomberg.

Suryo said that the results of this new international study “may get them sooner … because we know that the efficacy is high, so we need fewer patients.” He added that these measures should not delay obtaining the approval of regulators in the European Union and the United Kingdom to circulate the vaccine, but the green light from the US authorities may take longer.

The “World Health Organization” said yesterday (Thursday), that it “is waiting anxiously for the data (Oxford – AstraZeneca) to be published in full. Reviewing the detailed data will allow us to better understand the performance of the vaccine. ”

* The side effects

To find out whether the vaccine prevents the transmission of infection, in addition to reducing the severity of the disease among those who received it, and this is a very basic point to stop the epidemic. Experts believe that in this field, the “AstraZeneca – Oxford” vaccine has an advantage over other vaccines.

Academician Eleanor Reilly from the University of Edinburgh, as quoted by the Scientific Media Center, said: “Contrary to what happened in other experiments, the team (AstraZeneca – Oxford) examined all participants every week in order to detect asymptomatic injuries.”

For its part, the University of Oxford confirmed: “We have initial indications that the vaccine is able to prevent the transmission of infection, because a decrease in the number of asymptomatic infections has been observed.”

In an interview with the French Press Agency, AstraZeneca said that the systematic detection of asymptomatic patients does not concern all of the 23,000 volunteers, but only a part of them, without announcing the intended number.

If the trials did not show any serious side effects, it is necessary to carry out a “continuous follow-up” process to ensure that “there are no rare, unwanted but more dangerous effects when the vaccine is used on a larger scale,” according to Dr. Ward.

The British government announced yesterday (Friday) that it had requested its Medicines Regulatory Authority to evaluate the emerging corona virus vaccine, which is being developed by the British “AstraZeneca” laboratory and the University of Oxford, in preparation for putting it on the market.

“We have officially requested the Medicines Regulatory Authority to evaluate the (Oxford-AstraZeneca) vaccine and determine whether it meets stringent safety standards,” Health Minister Matt Hancock said in a statement. He added that if approved, this would be “an important step towards launching a vaccine as soon as possible.”


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