Updated Nov 23, 2020 - World

Oxford University says its coronavirus vaccine is up to 90% effective

A scientist is pictured working at the Oxford Vaccine Group's laboratory facility at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, west of London on June 24

A scientist working during at the Oxford Vaccine Group's laboratory facility at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, England, in June. Photo: Steve Parsons/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The University of Oxford announced Monday that a COVID-19 vaccine it's developed with AstraZeneca is 70.4% effective in preventing people from developing symptoms, per interim data from Phase 3 trials.

Why it matters: The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is shown to work in different age groups and can be stored at fridge temperature. It is much cheaper than other vaccines in development and is part of the global COVAX initiative, designed to ensure doses go where they're most needed.

  • AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in a statement that the vaccine's "simple supply chain and our no-profit pledge and commitment to broad, equitable and timely access means it will be affordable and globally available, supplying hundreds of millions of doses on approval."

Between the lines: The findings come from combining results from two different dosing regimes.

  • When two full doses were given to volunteers at least a month apart, the efficacy was 62%. This rose to 90% among those given half a dose, followed by a full one, the university noted in a statement.
  • Pfizer and Moderna both reported earlier this month their coronavirus vaccines had efficacy rates of about 95%.

Yes, but: The Food and Drug Administration initially set the bar for a COVID-19 vaccine to be 50% effective, roughly in line with the seasonal flu vaccine. A 70% efficacy was a best-case scenario back then, per Axios' Marisa Fernandez.

For the record: More than 24,000 volunteers were involved in the trials in the U.K., Brazil and South Africa — including 131 coronavirus cases, per the university.

  • There were no hospitalizations nor severe cases of COVID-19 reported from participants treated with the vaccine.

What to expect: The university said in a statement scientists are "hoping to supply 3 billion doses of the vaccine and make it available to people around the world by the end of next year."

Flashback: Oxford University coronavirus vaccine trials show strong immune response

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper