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The cheap and easy-to-store AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine, due to be launched in the UK on Monday, has greatly accelerated the global fight against the coronavirus.

Here are five facts about the highly anticipated vaccine.


The main advantages of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine are that it is inexpensive, costs around £ 2.50 ($ 3.40) per dose, and is easy to store.

It can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures between two and eight degrees Celsius (36-46 Fahrenheit), making it ideal for large-scale vaccination programs, with both India and Argentina recently approving its use.

Britain will begin mass launching the vaccine on Monday. 530,000 cans are ready for immediate use, and the government is hoping for “tens of millions” within three months.

In contrast, the Moderna vaccine must be stored at minus 20 ° C, while the Pfizer / BioNTech product must be stored at minus 70 ° C.

New variety

According to Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, the vaccine should be able to fight the new variant of the coronavirus, which is responsible for a large number of cases in the UK.

“So far we think the vaccine should stay effective. But we can’t be sure, so we’re going to test it,” he told the Sunday Times.

New versions are being developed just in case, he added, adding, “You have to prepare.”

British product

Developed by the UK company AstraZeneca in partnership with Oxford University, the vaccine is the second to be approved by the Independent Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA).

The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine has been in use in the UK since December 8th. Around one million people are receiving their first dose, according to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

His government is fighting one of the world’s worst outbreaks. To date, more than 75,000 people have been killed who tested positive for the disease.

The UK has ordered 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine.

AstraZeneca expects to manufacture around three billion doses of its vaccine worldwide by 2021.


The vaccine is “virus-vectored,” meaning that it is a version of a virus that normally infects chimpanzees and has been modified with part of the COVID-19 coronavirus called the “spike protein” to fire the immune system .

In human cells, the vaccine should help stimulate the production of antibodies that recognize the virus.

The vaccine is “safe and effective”. This emerges from data published December 8th in The Lancet Medical Journal. Only one of the 23,754 volunteers who participated in the studies had “potentially serious side effects associated with it”.

This was a case of a rare neurological disorder, transverse myelitis, which forced the studies to be temporarily suspended.

Result confusion

The UK laboratory announced in interim results in November that its vaccine was on average 70 percent effective, compared to more than 90 percent at Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna.

The effectiveness of the AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine was 90 percent for volunteers who received only half a dose and then a full dose a month later, but only 62 percent for those in another group who received two full doses a month apart Doses were vaccinated.

A half-dose injection was accidentally done, criticizing the robustness of the results and leading the company to announce on Nov. 26 that an “additional study” would be conducted on the effectiveness of the reduced dose.

“We think we figured out the formula for success and figured out how to get the effectiveness that everyone else has after two doses,” Soriot told the Sunday Times.

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© 2021 AFP

Quote: Five important pieces of information on the UK’s landmark vaccine (2021 Jan 3rd), accessed Jan 4th 2021 from

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