Oxford and AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine is considerably cheaper and easier to distribute than either Pfizer's or Moderna's. Here's why.
- The University of Oxford and
AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccinecan be stored at normal fridge temperatures for at least six months.
- Unlike Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine, it therefore doesn't require an ultra-cold storage and transport system, making it cheaper to distribute globally.
- The price per dose is also far cheaper than for either Pfizer or Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, in part because AstraZeneca has committed to not profiting from the vaccine during the pandemic.
- AstraZeneca and
Oxford Universitysaid Monday that their vaccine was 70% effective.
Unlike Pfizer and BioNTech's candidate, Oxford and AstraZeneca's vaccine doesn't have to be stored and transported at ultra-low temperatures. This could be especially beneficial for developing nations.AstraZeneca has also pledged not to profit from the vaccine during the pandemic. It is charging considerably less for doses than the other two leading vaccine candidates.
Oxford and AstraZeneca's candidate is known as an adenovirus-vector platform — it gives people an inactivated virus to stimulate an immune response. This makes it more stable than Pfizer and Moderna's "mRNA-based" vaccines, which inject people with genetic material that causes their bodies to make part of the virus, prompting an immune response.This stability means it can be stored, transported, and handled at normal fridge temperatures of between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit for at least six months.
Once it reaches its destination, it can be "administered within existing
Moderna's vaccine can be transported and stored at fridge temperatures, but only for a month: Oxford and AstraZeneca's vaccine can last six months at these temperatures. For Moderna's vaccine to last this long, it has to be stored at minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit.
AstraZeneca has committed to not profiting from the vaccine over the course of the pandemic. It is charging between $3 and $5 a dose, and will sell at cost price to developing nations in perpetuity.
EU countries have been offered doses for $3 each, The Telegraph reported.In contrast, Pfizer charged the US $19.50 per dose for the first 100 million doses, its partner company BioNTech said. It added that the price changes based on the size of the order. Each person requires two doses of the vaccine, putting its cost at $39 per person.
The last potential advantage for the Oxford vaccine comes in manufacturing. Trial results suggest the jab is on average 70% effective — but it was 90% effective in regimen that contains a half-dose, followed by a full dose, the results showed. In the trial, this was more effective than two full doses.This potentially means the groups can vaccinate more people than expected, although further investigation is required.
Prof Andrew Pollard, the trial's lead investigator said Monday the half-dose finding was "intriguing" and would mean "we would have a lot more doses to distribute."
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