İrem UZUN -TDO- The COVID-19 vaccine developed in the UK by Oxford University and AstraZeneca can protect 70.4% of people from becoming ill and – in a surprise result – up to 90% if a lower first dose is used, results from the final trial show.

The results are based on an interim analysis of trials in the U.K. and Brazil of a vaccine developed by Oxford University and manufactured by AstraZeneca. No hospitalizations or severe cases of COVID-19 were reported in those receiving the vaccine. “I think these are really exciting results,” Dr. Andrew Pollard, chief investigator for the trial, said at a news conference. “Because the vaccine can be stored at fridge temperatures, it can be distributed around the world using the normal immunization distribution system. And so our goal… to make sure that we have a vaccine that was accessible everywhere, I think we’ve actually managed to do that.”

Crucially, the AstraZeneca vaccine can be distributed and administered within existing healthcare systems, as it can be stored, transported and handled in normal refrigerated conditions (from 2-8 degrees Celsius, or 36-46 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least six months, the company said. It will also be cheaper than rival coronavirus vaccines from makers Pfizer and Moderna. AstraZeneca has pledged to "ensure broad and equitable access to the vaccine at no profit for the duration of the pandemic."

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