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AstraZeneca awaiting 'relatively fast' vaccine approval from the EU, executive says

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By Shea Lawrence
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A general view of AstraZeneca offices and the corporate logo in Cambridge, England, Saturday, July 18, 2020
A general view of AstraZeneca offices and the corporate logo in Cambridge, England, Saturday, July 18, 2020   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Alastair Grant
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There could be a "relatively fast approval" of the AstraZeneca and Oxford University coronavirus vaccine candidate, an executive from the company told Euronews, following the release of promising trial results regarding the vaccine's safety and efficacy.

The company, working with Oxford University, announced on Monday that the candidate vaccine is 70.4% effective and prevents severe disease due to coronavirus. The company said it is now waiting on EU regulators to approve the shot.

"I am absolutely convinced and confident that after the hoped approval of the European Medicines Agency that we'll be able to distribute the vaccine very quickly across all EU member states in more or less the same time," said Iskra Reic, the Executive Vice President of AstraZeneca's Europe and Canada region.

"[The agency] started a rolling review at the beginning of October which gives everyone hope that there could be relatively fast approval," she added.

The phase three trials showed that the vaccine is 70.4% effective and can be up to 90% effective depending on the dosing regimen.

"We still have yet to better understand the reasoning and the biology behind the results we saw showing the difference between the standard dose and the half dose. We're expecting to have much more data coming our way in the next few weeks," Reic explained on the difference between the doses.

The results are promising also since the AstraZeneca vaccine is seen as cheaper and easier to store.

But many have pointed out that vaccine candidates developed by competitors Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna were found to be more than 90% effective.

Reic warned it is difficult to compare data from the various ongoing trials.

"Data cannot be compared because the clinical trials are designed in different ways and also the patients' characteristics are different. So I think it would definitely be wrong to draw a conclusion by comparing the results of the studies," said Reic.

"This is not a competition at all, the world will need more than one, more than two, and more than three vaccines if we really want to vaccinate people globally in a short period of time."