The COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca wasn’t the first to be OK’d by regulators in the U.K.—health officials authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech jab nearly four weeks earlier. And it’s not the most effective—Stage 3 clinical trials suggest it prevents COVID-19 symptoms about 70% of the time vs. about 95% for the Pfizer vaccine and a similar one from Moderna (which is authorized in the U.S., but not the U.K.).
But the greenlight from the British Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency on Wednesday could be a big step toward bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control worldwide.
It’s especially big news for the developing world because it’s cheaper and easier to handle and store. Countries from India to Brazil to South Africa have made big bets on the shot from the celebrated British university and the U.K.-Swedish drugmaker. The U.K. was the first country to allow use of the vaccine, but India is expected to follow suit within days. Trials are ongoing in the U.S. and in multiple other countries……more