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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%.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

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

Jan 29, 2021 - World

EU grants conditional approval of AstraZeneca vaccine

Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The European Commission on Friday granted conditional approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people 18 years and older.

Why it matters: This is the third vaccine to receive approval from the commission, coming hours after the Emergency Medicines Agency recommended its authorization.

Updated 17 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
Jan 29, 2021 - Health

Ex-CDC director Tom Frieden on the next COVID-19 vaccines

Americans fortunate enough to receive COVID vaccines now, outside of clinical trials, are getting shots made by either Pfizer or Moderna. But newly released data from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson suggests that more vaccines could be on the way, with J&J's requiring a single dose.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the news and why it matters with Tom Frieden, former head of the CDC, as COVID-19 variants spread globally.