The COVID-19 vaccine co-developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca plc AZN received the United Kingdom approval for emergency supply on Wednesday.
What Happened: The U.K health department accepted the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) recommendation to authorize AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which showed efficacy between 70% and 90%.
Related News: China's Sinopharm COVID-19 Vaccine Shows 79.34% Efficacy
Why It Matters: The U.K. has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine, enough to vaccinate 50 million people. AstraZeneca’s two-dose vaccine is a viral vector inoculation based on a weakened version of the cold virus, as per CNBC.
“The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is the vaccine right now that is going to be able to immunize the planet more effectively, more rapidly than any other vaccine we have,” Dr. Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet medical journal, told CNBC.
The BBC reports that more than 600,000 people in the U.K. have been vaccinated already. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will lead to a massive expansion in the U.K.’s immunization campaign as it is cheaper and easier to mass-produce.
The vaccine can be stored at normal refrigerated temperatures, compared to the PFE/BNTX vaccine, which needs to be stored at ultra-low temperatures.
The U.K. has identified priority groups for immunization, including the elderly, care home residents, and healthcare workers.
Price Action: AZN shares closed 1.05% higher at $49.90 on Tuesday.
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