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Third Strong Vaccine May Have Big Advantage

AstraZeneca's candidate is up to 90% effective, and it can be easily stored and shipped
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2020 6:02 AM CST
Updated Nov 23, 2020 6:43 AM CST

(Newser) – A third COVID vaccine candidate is reporting strong results—and this one would be easier to transport and store than the first two. AstraZeneca says interim results show that its vaccine is up to 90% effective, slightly less than the 95% reported by Pfizer and Moderna. But while its highest rate is lower than those of the first two, the vaccine made by AstraZeneca—and developed by Oxford University—appears to have a key advantage, notes the Washington Post. It does not need to be shipped and stored at sub-zero temperatures and thus could more easily kept at hospitals and doctors' offices. “The Oxford vaccine can be stored in the fridge, as opposed to the freezer like the other two vaccines, which means it is a more practical solution for use worldwide,” says Peter Horby, an infectious disease professor at Oxford, per the AP.

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Pfizer's vaccine, by contrast, must be stored at minus-70 degrees Celsius. Moderna's can be stored up to 30 days in regular refrigerators, but it must be kept at minus-20 degrees Celsius beyond that. AstraZeneca's results were different in another way; the effectiveness depends on the dosing regimen: If people received a half dose, followed by a full dose the following month, the vaccine was 90% effective. If people received two full doses, the rate fell to 62%. The average rate was 70%, reports CNBC. Still, the upshot is that it appears at least three effective vaccines will soon be in the manufacturing pipeline, though it could be months before they're available to most Americans. (Lots of people are ignoring CDC pleas to skip holiday travel amid soaring cases.)

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