The Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine may be up to 90 per cent effective at preventing people from contracting the virus, according to data from its phase three trial.

Two separate regimens were tested. When delivered in two full doses, the vaccine was 62 per cent effective, but when delivered at a half dose and then a full dose, it was 90 per cent effective. Professor Andrew Pollard, Director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, said this “exciting” second regimen means “more people could be vaccinated with the planned vaccine supply.”

Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, Oxford’s can be stored in normal temperatures, remaining stable in an ordinary home freezer. This makes it easier to distribute and administer, as transport vehicles and vaccination hubs will not require extra specialist equipment. There’s also more of it available, with some 3 billion doses due to be produced in 2021, more than the estimated supply of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines combined.

And crucially, thanks to AstraZeneca’s non-profit pledge, it is also the cheapest of the major candidates, standing at around $3 per dose. By comparison, the Moderna vaccine will cost between $32 and $37 per dose, and Pfizer’s around $20. AstraZeneca has said it will sell doses at this low price to low- and middle- income countries in perpetuity.

The combination of these factors means the Oxford vaccine is already the most pre-ordered candidate, taking up the vast majority of orders outside Europe and the US. Poorer countries will be relying on it, and today’s data suggest that it will play a large – probably the largest – role in defeating the pandemic.

Bravo, British science.

You can read the full report from the study here –