The head of drug maker AstraZeneca said his company’s coronavirus vaccine will work against a new mutation causing U.K. infection rates to surge.
This vaccine, however, has yet to have been proven at the targeted success rate reached by those already approved. But AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot told the Sunday Times that researchers say it will be shown to be on par with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna success rates of 95%.
“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 told the newspaper.
Britain’s government regulators are examining the final data from AstraZeneca’s phase-three clinical trials. Approval could come by Thursday, with vaccines brought to the public in the first week of January. The new shot from AstraZeneca and Oxford University is easier to transport and store, assets that would help in the fight in Britain three weeks after its first inoculations.
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.”
Partial results suggest the AstraZeneca shot is about 70% effective, compared with rival drugmakers.
On Sunday, the U.K. recorded another 30,501 positive COVID-19 cases and 316 deaths. With hospitals feeling the intense crush of the surge, the country’s total death toll has reached 70,752.