AstraZeneca Has Confidence About New Strain

CEO says his vaccine will be as good as the others
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 27, 2020 12:00 PM CST
AstraZeneca Has Confidence About New Strain
Pascal Soriot of AstraZeneca testifies last year in Congress.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The head of drugmaker AstraZeneca, which is developing a coronavirus vaccine widely expected to be approved by UK authorities this week, said Sunday that researchers believe the shot will be effective against a new variant of the virus driving a rapid surge in infections in Britain. Partial results suggest that the AstraZeneca shot is about 70% effective for preventing illness from coronavirus infection, compared to the 95% efficacy reported by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, the AP reports. But chief executive Pascal Soriot expressed confidence to London's Sunday Times. "We think we have figured out the winning formula and how to get efficacy that, after two doses, is up there with everybody else," Soriot said. "I can’t tell you more because we will publish at some point.”

Asked about the vaccine’s efficacy against the new variant of coronavirus spreading in the UK, Soriot said: “So far, we think the vaccine should remain effective. But we can’t be sure, so we’re going to test that." BioNTech has expressed similar confidence in the vaccine it developed with Pfizer. AstraZeneca developed its vaccine, whose Phase 3 clinical trials are being reviewed now by British regulators, with Oxford University. The CEO said in the interview that it provide "100% protection" against severe COVID-19 cases—those that require hospitalization, per the Times of Israel. Britain's government has ordered 100 million doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine; 40 million of them are on track to be delivered by the end of March. (The company's vaccine has faced doubts.)

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