Health officials hope to vaccinate a million people a week soon as the country’s hospitals are overwhelmed with cases of a new, contagious variant of the virus

LONDON – The UK on Wednesday became the first country to approve the emergency coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, paving the way for a cheap and easy-to-store shot that much of the world will rely on for end the pandemic

In a bold decision to speed up vaccinations, an advisory panel to the UK government directed doctors to give as many people as possible their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine without reserving supplies for planned second doses

Instead of administering the two shots within a month, clinicians will wait up to 12 weeks to give people their second dose, the government said, a decision that is both for the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine and for The Pfizer BioNTech shot is considered the UK authorized earlier this month

With vaccination adoption slow in both the UK and the US, UK officials followed calls to postpone the second dose to allow more people to receive partial protection from a single dose, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said , people would get the AstraZeneca vaccine early next week

For the UK, where hospitals are being overwhelmed by a spate of cases of a new, contagious variant of the virus, the Drugs Authority’s decision offered hope of redress as the health service prepares to serve almost a million people a week in makeshift locations in football stadiums and vaccinate on racetracks

The Oxford-AstraZeneca shot is expected to be the world’s dominant form of vaccination At $ 3 to $ 4 per dose, it’s a fraction of the cost of some other vaccines and it can be shipped and stored for six months at normal refrigerated temperatures, instead of the ultra-cold freezers required by competing vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna This makes it easier to administer to people in poorer and inaccessible parts of the US world

At two full strength doses, AstraZeneca’s vaccine showed 62 percent effectiveness in clinical trials – significantly less than Pfizer and Moderna’s effectiveness of about 95 percent. For reasons scientists still don’t understand, AstraZeneca’s vaccine showed at a smaller group of volunteers given a starting dose of half strength, 90 percent efficacy

When the approval was announced on Wednesday, the UK Department of Health did not immediately set out which dosage regimen was approved or whether clinicians would be given the option of choosing between the two

Beyond the dosage issues, the UK healthcare sector also needs to figure out how to convince people to take a vaccine that appears to be less effective than other vaccines available, but which could hasten the end of a pandemic of hundreds at a time of people were killed day in the UK and thousands more around the world

The approval was based on data from late-stage clinical trials in the UK and Brazil The Indian Medicines Agency is also expected to soon decide whether to approve the vaccine, which is made there by a local vaccine manufacturer, the Serum Institute

A decision lies further afield in the US, where the Food and Drug Administration is waiting for data from a separate clinical trial. The trial was canceled in September and delayed by nearly seven weeks – much longer than any other country – than regulators looked into vaccine-related disease in a participant in the UK US regulators ultimately let the process continue

For the past few days, the Oxford scientists who developed the vaccine have been debating on both sides of the Atlantic whether to delay the proposed second doses of this and other vaccines to give more people the partial protection of a vaccine Enable Single Dose Andrew Pollard, the director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said in a radio interview Monday that “it makes a lot of sense to start with as many people as possible” by delaying the second dose

AstraZeneca has more ambitious manufacturing goals than other vaccine manufacturers, and expects to produce up to three billion doses over the next year, at two doses per person, that would be enough to vaccinate nearly one in five people worldwide, and the company is committed to it to be offered worldwide at cost until at least July 2021 and in poorer countries on a permanent basis

However, the company has also been haunted by communication errors that damaged its relationship with American regulators and cast doubts as to whether the vaccine will stand up to intense public and scientific scrutiny.These errors have reset the timeline of the vaccine in the US, where key F.D.ONE official was stunned to hear about the news media, not AstraZeneca, about their September clinical trial break

These setbacks have not dampened the excitement in Britain for the country’s leading homegrown vaccine According to analysts, this could improve Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s career if introduced quickly

After the UK ordered 100 million doses, 40 million of which should be available by March, the UK has made AstraZeneca the linchpin of its vaccination strategy since the Pfizer vaccine was approved on Dec. 2, Britain has used it to vaccinate hundreds of thousands of people, however, the country has tried to manage it beyond hospitals and doctor’s offices, and some of its highest priority recipients, like nursing home residents, are still at risk p>

A small number of volunteers in the UK clinical trial received their first dose due to a measurement problem at half strength Oxford had hired an outside manufacturer to manufacture the vaccine for the trial. When the researchers received a sample of the vaccine, they found that its strength was twice what the manufacturer found with another measurement technique.Because the researchers did not know which measurement to trust, they decided to cut the dose in half to ensure the volunteers did not double the intended dose The Oxford researchers later confirmed their reading was too high and switched back to the originally planned dose for the second shot

In the smaller group of 2In 741 people who received the first half-strength dose or a meningococcal vaccine as a control, the vaccine was found to be 90 percent effective, however, none of these participants were older than 55, making it difficult to know if these results were in older people People would apply

Scientists at AstraZeneca and Oxford have said they don’t know why the starting half-strength dose was so much more effective, but they have expressed confidence in their results, particularly in finding that no one is using the vaccine in the clinical trials has received, developed severe Covid-19, or has been hospitalized

“We think we’ve figured out the formula for success and figured out how to get the effectiveness that everyone else has after two doses,” Pascal Soriot, managing director of AstraZeneca, told The Times of London in a Saturday published Interview The company has not released any evidence of efficacy rates as high as Pfizer or Moderna. “That’s all I can tell you as we will be releasing at some point,” said Mr Soriot told the Times

Oxford scientists published interim results from clinical trials of the vaccine in The Lancet earlier this month and the upcoming final results of these trials are not expected to differ significantly from interim data, as is typical in clinical research

AstraZenecas US. The study had more than 27 last week000 participants enrolled, just below their target of 30000 The study could have results and, if positive, lead to an emergency clearance in the United States in February or March, Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed, US. Federal efforts to speed up coronavirus vaccines said in a news conference last week

AstraZeneca executives publicly released several ideas to collect additional data on the more promising dosing regimen in November they said they would consider adding an arm to the continuing US Trial version or start of a new global trial version However, none of these proposals has yet been implemented

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World News – UK – UK approves Covid-19 vaccine from Oxford and AstraZeneca

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/30/world/europe/britain-authorizes-covid-19-vaccine-from-oxford-and-astrazeneca.html