AstraZeneca-Oxford's COVID-19 Vaccine Shown to Be 'Highly Effective' and Easily Transportable

A new COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford has reportedly shown to be "highly effective" in fighting the deadly virus. According to The Associated Press, the vaccine has so far proven to be about 90 percent effective in fighting the coronavirus, and is also easily transportable. "I think these are really exciting results," said Dr. Andrew Pollard, chief investigator for the trial, during a press conference on the vaccine.

He continued, "Because the vaccine can be stored at fridge temperatures, it can be distributed around the world using the normal immunization distribution system. And so our goal … to make sure that we have a vaccine that was accessible everywhere, I think we've actually managed to do that." This new vaccine is also projected to be a cheaper vaccine than the others that have emerged over the past few weeks. The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is reported to cost roughly $2.50 a dose, whereas vaccines created by Pfizer and Moderna could exceed $20 a dose.

"We're not thinking about vaccinations working in terms of one person at a time. We have to think about vaccinating communities, populations, reducing transmission within those populations, so that we really get on top of this pandemic," said Sarah Gilbert, one of the leaders for the Oxford research team. "And that's what it now looks like we're going to have the ability to contribute to in a really big way."

Notably, the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine can also be transported more easily than the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Pfizer, for example, plans to use "thermal shippers" with dry ice that are specially designed just for shipping its vaccine, which need to be kept at minus-94 degrees Fahrenheit. The AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, however, is able to be transported under "normal refrigerated conditions."

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The new vaccine also has shown signs of being effective with a smaller dose than initially believed, which experts say is a great indicator that more people will be able to access the vaccine at lower costs. "The report that an initial half-dose is better than a full dose seems counterintuitive for those of us thinking of vaccines as normal drugs: With drugs, we expect that higher doses have bigger effects, and more side-effects," said Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London. "But the immune system does not work like that."