LONDON – The United Kingdom has approved the Covid-19 vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford and the University of Oxford.

AstraZeneca

PLC, which opens the door to the deployment of millions of doses in a country where infections have exploded as a result of a more contagious variant of the virus.

The green light is the third emergency approval for the vaccine developed by the West this month and comes at a time when the number of cases is increasing in the United States and Europe. A snapshot develops

Pfizer Inc.

and Germany

Biotechnology

SE and one by one

Moderna Inc.

Both have been approved and are marketed in the United States.

AstraZeneca’s injectables, which have been shown to be less effective than those of its competitors in clinical trials, will not be available in the U.S. until the Food and Drug Administration reviews the large-scale trials being conducted there and decides whether or not to approve them.

The United Kingdom’s approval comes at a time when it is facing a new and potentially more contagious variant of the coronavirus, which is also currently registered in the United States.

Dose target

Covid-19 vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, is used to extend vaccination in developing countries.

Covid-19 Vaccine Made by AstraZeneca, Oxford Is Authorized by U.K.

Countries with interim vaccination obligations

(2.7 billion doses worldwide)

Covid-19 Vaccine Made by AstraZeneca, Oxford Is Authorized by U.K.

Countries with provisional vaccination obligations

(2.7 billion doses worldwide)

Covid-19 Vaccine Made by AstraZeneca, Oxford Is Authorized by U.K.

Countries with provisional vaccination obligations

(2.7 billion doses worldwide)

Covid-19 Vaccine Made by AstraZeneca, Oxford Is Authorized by U.K.

Countries with provisional vaccination obligations

(2.7 billion doses worldwide)

The mutated virus has recently led to a travel ban on visitors and goods from the UK, making it politically urgent to get a vaccine here as soon as possible. The Pfizer juice is already available in the UK.

Boris Johnson

On 21 December it was reported that half a million of the first of the two doses had been administered.

Scientists say that the three Covid 19 vaccines so far approved by Western countries should be as effective against the new variant as they have been in clinical trials, according to an AstraZeneca official who is familiar with the subject. The new variant could be 70 percent more transferable than the better-known forms of Covid-19, according to government officials.

The UK Medicines Agency has stated that the vaccine can be given to people aged 18 and over. The approval allows the use of two standard doses of the vaccine, a regime that was 62% effective in preventing symptoms of Covid 19 in an interim analysis of trials involving about 11,600 people in the UK and Brazil.

In the same study, a small group of volunteers aged 55 years and younger received half a dose, followed by a standard dose. This subgroup showed a 90% higher degree of protection. The British government has not approved the use of half a dose.

We felt that the conclusions were not supported by the full analysis, said pharmacist Munir Pirmohamed, who heads the government advisory group that advised on the regulator’s recommendations, at a press briefing on Wednesday.

British officials said they accepted the vaccination on Tuesday and released the first batches that night.

They advised against a general preference between the two vaccines previously authorised in the United Kingdom: the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTec vaccine. The superior efficacy of Pfizer’s vaccine is not directly comparable to that of Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine, according to officials, as a result of scientific and clinical studies.

AstraZeneca and the British health authorities have stated that the two-dose regime is flexible as regards the timing of the second dose, ranging from four weeks to twelve weeks after the first dose.

By postponing the second dose, the vaccine supply can be increased so that more British people receive the first dose earlier. But the benefits of complete protection with the vaccine, which has been shown in clinical studies to prevent hospitalisation, begin to be felt after the second dose.

While drug traffickers distribute Covid-19 vaccines, cyber security experts warn of the growing threat of hackers and theft by organized crime networks. WSJ explains how hackers focus on the use of vaccines during a pandemic. Illustration: George Downs.

UK health officials said Wednesday that the updated guidelines for the second dose also apply to the bite of Pfizer BioNTech, which is already being administered in the country. Previously, a second dose was recommended 21 days after the first. British officials changed the deadline to 12 weeks on Wednesday and said the change was based on the latest scientific data. According to vaccine manufacturers, full protection does not begin until seven days after the second dose.

Pfizer is committed to increasing doses by millions in the UK by the end of the year, but AstraZeneca and Oxford vaccines, which are produced in locations in the country and elsewhere, promise to accelerate the rate of vaccination in the country’s public health system. The NHS determines the injection given to people on the basis of the offer.

How viral vector vaccines work

AstraZeneca’s new vaccine is based on a different immune mechanism than conventional vaccines.

Traditional vaccines

Covid-19 Vaccine Made by AstraZeneca, Oxford Is Authorized by U.K.

1. With conventional vaccines, such as measles and polio vaccines, the patient gets a weakened or inactivated version of the virus. The immune system then produces special antibodies adapted to recognise the virus.

2. After vaccination, the antibodies remain in the body. If the patient is then infected with the virus itself, antibodies can identify it and help neutralize it.

Scientists have isolated the genes of the new coronavirus responsible for the production of these advanced proteins. The genes are split into muted and harmless versions of other viruses.

Instead of using the whole virus to trigger an immune response, the vaccine relies on the external spike proteins of the coronavirus, which use antibodies to recognise the virus.

A weakened virus

Advanced protein genes

When injected into a patient, genetically modified viruses end up in healthy cells where they produce advanced coronavirus proteins.

Once exported from the cells, the doped proteins stimulate the immune system to increase protection, just like traditional vaccines.

Reaction of antibodies produced by vaccination

Covid-19 Vaccine Made by AstraZeneca, Oxford Is Authorized by U.K.

1. With conventional vaccines, such as measles and polio vaccines, the patient gets a weakened or inactivated version of the virus. The immune system then produces special antibodies adapted to recognise the virus.

2. After vaccination, the antibodies remain in the body. If the patient is then infected with the virus itself, antibodies can identify it and help neutralize it.

Scientists have isolated the genes of the new coronavirus responsible for the production of these advanced proteins. The genes are split into muted and harmless versions of other viruses.

Instead of using the whole virus to trigger an immune response, the vaccine relies on the external spike proteins of the coronavirus, which use antibodies to recognise the virus.

A weakened virus

Advanced protein genes

When injected into a patient, genetically modified viruses end up in healthy cells where they produce advanced coronavirus proteins.

Once exported from the cells, the doped proteins stimulate the immune system to increase protection, just like traditional vaccines.

Reaction of antibodies produced by vaccination

Covid-19 Vaccine Made by AstraZeneca, Oxford Is Authorized by U.K.

1. With conventional vaccines, such as measles and polio vaccines, the patient gets a weakened or inactivated version of the virus. The immune system then produces special antibodies adapted to recognise the virus.

2. After vaccination, the antibodies remain in the body. If the patient is then infected with the virus itself, antibodies can identify it and help neutralize it.

Scientists have isolated the genes of the new coronavirus responsible for the production of these advanced proteins. The genes are split into muted and harmless versions of other viruses.

Instead of using the whole virus to trigger an immune response, the vaccine relies on the external spike proteins of the coronavirus, which use antibodies to recognise the virus.

A weakened virus

Advanced protein genes

When injected into a patient, genetically modified viruses end up in healthy cells where they produce advanced coronavirus proteins.

Once exported from the cells, the doped proteins stimulate the immune system to increase protection, just like traditional vaccines.

Reaction of antibodies produced by vaccination

Covid-19 Vaccine Made by AstraZeneca, Oxford Is Authorized by U.K.

1. With conventional vaccines, such as measles and polio vaccines, the patient gets a weakened or inactivated version of the virus. The immune system then produces special antibodies adapted to recognise the virus.

2. After vaccination, the antibodies remain in the body. If the patient is then infected with the virus itself, antibodies can identify it and help neutralize it.

Instead of using the whole virus to trigger an immune response, the vaccine relies on the external spike proteins of the coronavirus, which use antibodies to recognise the virus.

Scientists have isolated the genes of a new coronavirus responsible for its production.

Stinking squirrels. The genes are split into muted and harmless versions of other viruses.

A weakened virus

Advanced protein genes

When injected into a patient, genetically modified viruses end up in healthy cells where they produce advanced coronavirus proteins.

Once exported from the cells, the doped proteins stimulate the immune system to increase protection, just like traditional vaccines.

Reaction of antibodies produced by vaccination

AstraZeneca said Wednesday that it would ship millions of doses in the first quarter of next year, but did not give the exact amount. The United Kingdom has ordered up to 100 million doses of the vaccine, enough for 50 million people.

The government advisors behind the approval stated that the 90% efficacy demonstrated at half a dose may be due to the longer period between the first and second dose in this subset of studies, rather than the half dose itself. They stated that the analysis of the half-dose subgroup contributed to the UK Government’s decision to recommend up to 12 weeks between doses.

The consultants stated that at a full dose, immunity begins to develop approximately three weeks after the first dose. They estimate that the vaccine is 70% effective three weeks after the first dose, for the next three months. It is not clear whether this figure will hold up in more extensive clinical trials, they said, which would provide more data.

It is not known how quickly other countries could approve the vaccine. A major clinical trial is underway in the US, where AstraZeneca executives hope to have complete study data by February for submission to the US regulatory authorities, according to a person familiar with the subject. They are submitting data packages to European regulators and will be ready for a possible EU-wide solution in February, he said.

Oxford and AstraZeneca had won the race earlier this year to develop the Covid-19 vaccine, before falling behind their rivals who were able to complete clinical trials faster. The vaccine, developed by scientists at the Jenner Institute in Oxford, uses a weakened cold virus to bring the genetic material of the coronavirus into the cells and activates immunity by administering two vaccines at one month intervals.

In April, AstraZeneca agreed to co-develop Oxford’s technology and distribute it worldwide on a not-for-profit basis. By November, the company had agreed to ship three billion doses to all regions of the world.

The partners faced setbacks on their way to Wednesday’s stage. In May, they launched a combined Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trial in the UK with the aim of recruiting more than 10,000 volunteers and achieving first results by August. However, research progressed more slowly than expected, partly because of the relatively low infection rates in the UK during much of the summer and autumn.

When AstraZeneca began the planned U.S. Phase 3 trial with 30,000 subjects at the end of August, it lagged behind rivals Pfizer and Moderna, who had launched similar studies a month earlier. For two weeks, AstraZeneca suspended all research worldwide after a British subject became inexplicably ill. The British authorities quickly resumed the investigation, but the tests in the United States took more than six weeks before the US authorities lifted the investigation ban in October.

Write to Joseph Walker at [email protected] and Jenny Strasburg at [email protected]

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