Nov. 23 (UPI) -- AstraZeneca announced Monday that a vaccine it's been developing with Oxford University has shown to be "highly effective" at preventing COVID-19, with an average efficacy of 70%.
The multinational pharmaceutical company said it has received "positive high-level results" from an interim analysis of clinical trials of its AZD1222 vaccine candidate.
The drugmaker has been holding late-stage trials in Britain and Brazil and the vaccine has resulted in zero hospitalizations and no severe cases of the coronavirus among volunteers, it said.
AstraZeneca said the vaccine showed different efficacy in different dosing regimens. It was 62% effective when two full doses of the vaccine were administered a month apart, and 90% when a half-dose was followed by a full dose after a month.
"These findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save lives," Andrew Pollard, chief investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial in England, said in a statement. "Excitingly, we've found that one of our dosing regimens may be around 90% effective and if this dosing regime is used, more people could be vaccinated with planned vaccine supply."
AstraZeneca said it's preparing to submit the vaccine for regulatory approval and emergency approval from the World Health Organization, to accelerate availability of the vaccine in low-income countries. A full analysis of the interim results is also being submitted to a peer-reviewed journal, it said.
Some 23,000 people have participated so far in the two-dose vaccine trials, which have been conducted in the United States, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Kenya and Latin America. Other trials are planned in Europe and Asia and AstraZeneca expects to ultimately enroll 60,000 volunteers.
Monday's announcement added to global confidence that a COVID-19 vaccine will be available soon. Pfizer and BioNTech and Moderna each said last week their vaccines have shown to be 95%. They are awaiting regulatory approvals.
Dr. Moncef Slaoui, a member of the White House vaccine effort, Operation Warp Speed, told CNN's State of the Union Sunday that one could be ready as soon as early December.