The Oxford/Astrazeneca press release issued today had two headlines, the first reported that ‘Two different dosing regimes demonstrated efficacy with one showing a better profile’ and this is the story everyone has run with.
The second headline, in a way more important news but largely unreported, says “No hospitalisations or severe cases of Covid-19 in participants treated with AZD1222”. The implication of these two headlines together is that based on the primary results, nobody who takes this vaccine need worry unduly about their Covid exposure putting them in hospital. You either won’t contract it, or it won’t be serious if you do.
Reducing the impact of Covid-19 to the severity of a bad cold or mild dose of the flu will have an enormous impact on the psychological impact of the threat of catching the virus and remove many of the barriers causing so much economic damage.
There is further good news from the report. Although early reporting focused on the 70% efficacy achieved overall in the trial in terms of preventing Covid-19 infection, one of the two dosage paths produce 90% efficacy. With its low cost and ease of handling the vaccine looks set to be the go to vaccine worldwide for all but the most vulnerable groups.
Whilst the Moderna vaccine interim report also highlighted there were no serious covid-19 symptoms in their vaccinated patients who developed Covid, this was not the case for Pfizer/BioNTech, where one of the ten serious Covid cases in their trial came from the vaccinated group. It should be caveated that all three trials are at relatively early stages so better data will emerge over time.
The implications of these results for the UK 2021 economy are very marked, with 4 million doses of vaccine already manufactured to go on approval and a further 100 million scheduled for production. Business will be able to make plans for the 2021 business cycle with some degree of certainty. This will be no small relief to Rishi Sunak as he finalises his UK spending review, no Chancellor welcomes uncertainty.
Read the press release here https://www.astrazeneca.com/media-centre/press-releases/2020/azd1222hlr.html