AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine buoys immense hope from emerging countries

COVID-19 vaccine booster shots
Image source: FDA

The clinical trial successes from pharmaceutical companies Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA) on their COVID-19 vaccines gave hope to the United States and other wealthy nations that help is just around the corner to combat the deadly disease.

However, most countries worldwide are praying for AstraZeneca Plc (NASDAQ: AZN) and Oxford University to succeed in the clinical trial of their COVID-19 vaccine, which is already in the final stage.

Emerging countries are depending on the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine to help eradicate the COVID-19 infection. Why? Because more than 40% is allocated for those countries and it costs a fraction of the price set by Pfizer for its vaccine, according to Bloomberg based on information from London-based research firm Airfinity Ltd.

In fact, University of Oxford scientists are reportedly poised to release the results from the late-stage trials of their COVID-19 vaccine by Christmas.

This is buoying further hopes among emerging economies, which are expected to be on the first line to receive the Astra-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine.

“The vast majority of the global population live in low- and middle-income countries,” said Mark Eccleston-Turner, a law and infectious disease specialist at Keele University in England, in a Bloomberg report. “It’s not just a problem for people over there, far away from us. This is a problem for most people in the world.”

AstraZenca earlier said it won’t take advantage of the pandemic as it stressed that the vaccine will only cost about $4 and $5 per dose.

In July, the U.S. agreed to obtain the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine in a deal that sets the price at $19.50 a dose, or $39 for a two-shot immunization. Moderna, on the other hand, said it will charge some $32 to $37 per dose for smaller purchases and less for bigger deals.

Pfizer and Moderna reported this week that preliminary results from late-stage trials showed that their COVID-19 vaccines were almost 95 percent effective.

Dr. Andrew Pollard, an expert in pediatric infection at Oxford, said in a BBC interview that there should be no competition between pharmaceutical companies and research industries. He said the world needs several vaccines to bring the pandemic under control.

Phase 3 trials of the Astra vaccines, according to Pollard, are now preparing the data needed to report results. This comes on the heels of a renewed surge of the COVID-19 infections hitting countries across the world.

“I think we’re getting close, and it’s definitely going to be before Christmas based on the progress,” Pollard said.