AstraZeneca COVID Vaccine Hits 90% Efficacy in Some Doses

AstraZeneca, as well as researchers from Oxford University, said their developing vaccine can be as high as 90% effective in protecting patients from contracting COVID-19.

AstraZeneca  (AZN) - Get Report said Monday that its coronavirus vaccine, developed in concert with Oxford University, reached a 90% efficacy rate in certain doses following late-stage trials in the U.K. and Brazil.

AstraZeneca said the average efficacy rate of the three dosage variants of its coronavirus vaccine, known as AZD1222was around 70%, a much lower result than that achieved by Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Report and Moderna's  (MRNA) - Get Report messenger-RNA based techniques, but noted it can be stored and transported at normal refrigerated conditions.

The group said it will seek emergency use approval from the World Health Organization in the coming days, and plans to have around 3 billion doses -- more than twice the expectation of Pfizer -- by the end of 2021.

"Today marks an important milestone in our fight against the pandemic. This vaccine's efficacy and safety confirm that it will be highly effective against COVID-19 and will have an immediate impact on this public health emergency," said AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot. "Furthermore, 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."

AstraZeneca's U.S.-listed shares were marked 2.3% lower in early trading Monday to change hands at $53.98 each. Shares traded on the London Stock Exchange, meanwhile, were marked 2.4% lower to trim their year-to-date gain to around 6%.

The AstraZeneca/Oxford University trial included around 23,000 participants, the company said, and resulted in around 131 infections.

The 90% efficacy rate was observed in cohorts given a half dose, and then a full dose four weeks later, the study indicated. Curiously, the lower 62% efficacy rate was observed in participants given two full doses. The average rate across both dosing regimes was 70%, the company said.

Earlier this month, Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech  (BNTX) - Get Report, said earlier this week that the vaccine, known as BNT162b2, reached a 95% efficacy rate across all age and race demographics and based on a study of 43,538 participants and total case cohort of 170. 

Moderna said last week that its messenger RNA-based vaccine hit a 94.5% efficacy rate and noted that it can last for up to six months when stored at standard freezer temperatures of -4 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to the -94 degree temperatures required for the Pfizer vaccine.