Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine one step closer to obtaining UK approval

AztraZeneca-Oxford University covid-19 vaccine
Credits: Aztra Zenica

The COVID-19 vaccine developed by the  University of Oxford and AstraZeneca is a step closer to getting regulatory approval in the United Kingdom.

“I’m delighted to be able to tell you that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine developed here in the UK has submitted its full data package to the MHRA for approval,” United Kingdom Health Minister Matt Hancock on Wednesday.

Hancock added, “This is the next step towards a decision on the deployment of the vaccine.”

MHRA stands for Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, an office responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices work and are acceptably safe in the U.K.

Furthermore, Hancock said the agency is continuing its distribution of the BioNTech-Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, the first to receive regulatory approval in the UK. The vaccine is currently being delivered in more than 500 sites across the kingdom. The most vulnerable people including senior citizens in nursing homes and healthcare workers were first to get vaccinated against the deadly virus.

The British government ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which is expected to meet the stringent requirements set by regulators and will be given the go-ahead next week.

The AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine was confirmed by experts to have 70.4 percent average efficacy in an interim analysis of Phase 3 trial results. It has an efficacy of 90 percent in a small group who got a half-dose first, but only 62 percent in the majority.

The vaccine is likely effective against the mutant virus

The regulatory approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is crucial approval is crucial. A more infectious mutated strain of the virus is spreading fast across the UK. Multiple countries already imposed travel bans and tightened restrictions to curb the spread of the mutant COVID-19.

AstraZeneca claimed that its COVID-19 vaccine should be effective against the new coronavirus variant. The drugmaker said its vaccine would train the immune system to “recognize many different parts of the spike protein so that it can eliminate the virus if it is later exposed.”

On Sunday, Hancock said this new COVID-19 strain is “out of control.”  He urged people to be cautious, and take all the required precautions to stay safe during Christmas.