AstraZeneca’s Vaccine, What Does It Mean for Mexico?By Jorge Ramos Zwanziger | Tue, 11/24/2020 - 16:45
Oxford University researchers, along with AstraZeneca, announced positive, high-level results from the clinical trials of their COVID-19 vaccine on Monday. The clinical trials followed two dosing regimens: one, using two full doses taken at least one month apart, which showed 62 percent efficacy, and a second, half a dose on the first application followed by a full dose at least one month later, which showed a 90 percent efficacy. The combined efficacy of both regimens, using a sample of 11,636, was 70 percent. Andrew Pollard, Chief Investigator of the Oxford Vaccine Trial at Oxford, said “these findings show that we have an effective vaccine that will save many lives.”
The 70 percent efficacy rate is lower than Pfizer and Biotech’s vaccine’s reported 90 percent effectiveness, according to a previous MBN article, and Moderna’s 95 percent effectiveness, as reported by the BBC. Although seemingly less effective, AstraZeneca-Oxford’s vaccine has strong advantages when it comes to distribution. El Financiero mentions that both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines have to be stored frozen, while AstraZeneca mentions its vaccine can be stored, transported and handled at normal refrigerated conditions. This is particularly important for countries like Mexico as it decreases the cost of transportation and of the vaccine itself. Pascal Soriot, AstraZeneca’s CEO, said “the vaccine’s simple supply chain and our non-profit pledge and commitment to broad, equitable and timely access means it will be affordable and globally available.”
AstraZeneca continues developing the vaccine while it engages with governments worldwide to warrant extensive and equitable access at no profit. What does this mean for Mexico? In August, Fundación Slim and AstraZeneca signed an agreement to promote the production of the vaccine in Mexico and Argentina, reported Forbes. The agreement includes the production of 150 to 250 million vaccines for Latin America in 1Q21. Both emphasized the importance of a non-profit approach to its production to bring the vaccine to as many people as possible in Mexico. Liomont, a Mexican pharmaceutical, will be the one to package AstraZeneca-Oxford’s vaccine in Mexico. “We will start submitting these clinical data to the international regulatory authorities and locally to COFEPRIS in the following weeks,” Sylvia Varela, President and CEO of AstraZeneca Mexico, said in an interview with Milenio. If COFEPRIS endorses the vaccine, the schedule planned for 2021 could be followed.