Here is very informative interview of Astrazeneca's CEO:Pascal Soriot: "There are a lot of emotions on vaccines in EU. But it's complicated"On delay in production
[*]Essentially, we have cell cultures, big batches, 1000-litre or 2000-litre batches. We have cell cultures inside those batches and we inject them with the virus, the vaccine, if you will. Then those cells produce the vaccine, it’s a biotechnology protection. Now, some of those batches have very high yield and others have low yield.
[*]the yield varies from one to three, by the factor of three.
[*]we basically signed an agreement with the UK three months before we did have it with Europe
[*]The suggestion we sell to other countries to make more money is not right because we make no profit everywhere.That's the approach we took and we agreed on that. That’s the agreement we have with Oxford University. It's actually even written in a contract we have with Oxford University: that we will be at no profit
[*]But in April last year, everybody was saying “it's impossible to do a vaccine by the end of the 2020”, or “you're going too fast” or “you're cutting corners”, “you can't do it”, eccetera. Now everybody is saying “you’re too slow”, while before we were “too fast”. On Efficacy for elderly
[*]“The issue with the elderly data is not so much whether it works or not. It´s that we have today a limited amount of data in the older population. You have to think that the program we have today was run by Oxford, it was the Oxford program. And Oxford is an academy group. They´re very ethical, and very academic. So they didn´t want to vaccinate older people until they had accumulated a lot of safety data in the 18 to 55 group. They said it was not ethical to vaccinate old people until they had enough safety data in younger people. Other companies took their risk and went ahead and vaccinated older people faster or earlier. If you start earlier, you have more data. Essentially, because Oxford started vaccinating older people later, we don´t have a huge number of older people that had been vaccinated. So that´s what the debate is. But we have strong data showing very strong antibody production against the virus in the elderly, similar to what we see in younger people. It´s possible that some countries, out of caution, will use our vaccine for the younger group. But honestly, it is fine. There’s not enough vaccines for everybody. So if they want to use another vaccine for older people and our vaccine for younger people, what´s the problem? It’s not a problem. We´re trying to deal with this crisis together. If you add up our capacity, plus the Pfizer capacity, plus the Moderna capacity, there’s not enough in the world. There´s not enough for the entire world. I personally think that the group of people who are between 50 and 70 are an important group to protect. If you are 50, 60, you need to be protected. Many people may have hypertension, overweight, you need to protect them. And the younger people, at some point, we need to protect them also. So, even though no country has done so so far, it’s possible that some countries will say: we will not use the AZ vaccine in older people until we have the US data confirming that it is indeed to be used in older people. Different groups or countries will take different approaches. The UK said: we believe it works in older people, we’re going to use it in older people”.About using one-dose
[*]“I think the UK one-dose strategy is absolutely the right way to go, at least for our vaccine. I cannot comment about the Pfizer vaccine, whose studies are for a three-week interval. In our case, the trial we're talking about was conducted by Oxford University. We AZ are conducting the US trial, which we think is going to be ready very soon. Oxford University conducted the so-called Oxford trial in UK and Brazil, and we have data for patients who received the vaccine in one-month interval, 2 or 3 months interval. First of all, we believe that the efficacy of one dose is sufficient: 100 percent protection against severe disease and hospitalisation,
and 71-73 percent of efficacy overall. The second dose is needed for long term protection. But you get a better efficiency if you get the 2nd dose later than earlier. We are going to do a study in the US and globally to use two-month dose interval to confirm that this is indeed the case, there are many reasons to believe it is the case with our vaccine. We have a different technology. First of all, when you look at level of antibody production, this is higher if you give the second dose three months or two months later, than one month later. And also, if you look at Ebola, its vaccine, which is also using the Adenoviral vector like the Covid one, the second dose needs to be given eight weeks later. Finally, the J&J vaccine with Adenoviral vector also are performing studies on a two-month interval. And J&J has the same technology as ours. Therefore, for our vaccine, there is no doubt in my mind that the way the UK is going is the best way, because right now you have a limited amount of vaccine, but also you have a limited number of doctors and nurses able to inject people. So you maximize the number of people who get one dose. You give them enough protection for two or three months, then you give them the second dose after 3 months. By March, the UK will have vaccinated maybe 28 or 30 million people. The Prime Minister has a goal to vaccinate 15 million people by mid-February, and they're already at 6,5 million. So they will get there".