There is no third place after Pfizer and Moderna Piero Di Lorenzo, Irbm’s managing director in Pomezia who worked on the AstraZeneca vaccine with the University of Oxford. “The offer will soon be fully operational and efficacy may rise to 82% after re-evaluation of the EMA (European Medicines Agency, ed).”
250,000 doses arrived on Sunday, but what comes next?
“AstraZeneca is making an effort to keep up with deliveries in January. As far as I know, another 350,000 doses will arrive by the 14th and 700,000 by the 25th. We are working for 4 million more in March.”.
What is the problem?
Vaccines are complex biological products and increasing their production does not always produce the desired results. Especially in the Belgium factory there was a severe delay. ”
Is it now old?
“They are resolved, the pressure is crazy and they work day and night.”
When do the refueling problems end?
“From March to April, it is reasonable that adequate doses arrive for a comprehensive vaccination. I’m also quite optimistic about the campaign. ”
What is a realistic goal?
“That those over the age of 70 will be most vulnerable by June. This will give us a summer with more positive outlooks.”.
What is Airbm doing?
«We introduced the viral vector for the Oxford vaccine, produced trial doses for the three clinical stages, and are now testing products in England, Australia and India. We are also putting Italian production of 10 million doses as of May. ”
Do you believe in self-production?
“Yes, although not all companies can produce vaccines. We need sophisticated systems and lengthy testing. The real way is to wait for booked doses. And if important non-vaccine companies, such as Sanofi and Novartis, lend their implants, that is good news. ”
AstraZeneca’s criticism is that it conducted a failed trial and as a result the authorities could not help but approve the vaccine with 62% …
“The trial was conducted in England, Brazil, South Africa and the United States with results that are difficult to compare. The famous half-dose error was a mistake that was discovered three days later and switched to another protocol, with half a dose and a full dose after one month, giving an efficacy of 91%.
For Ema, it was not tested on enough people and the only approved protocol was two complete doses, the second for a month, with an efficiency of 62% and a recommendation for use for those under 65 years of age.
“Yes, but in the meantime, AstraZeneca has concluded other trials that showed 76% efficacy with a single dose, which rises to 82 with the second after three months, with a peak of 92. Moreover, the detected percentage will not develop the disease in a serious way.”
So the best way to use a vaccine is this?
Yes, the new study has been sent to the journal Lancet In days, Emma will arrive. ”
If the EMA agrees, should the vaccination strategy, which AstraZeneca provide only to educators and law enforcement agencies, be revised?
“Yes, the new data should allow everyone to agree. The three-month period between the first and second dose will give the possibility to vaccinate more people. Moreover, AstraZeneca costs only € 2.80, and it does not need planes, helicopters, warehouses with refrigerators at a temperature -80 below zero ».
How long does it take to update the vaccine in case of variants?
Three weeks, even if the problem isn’t there at this time. Variables must be monitored and subjected to specific tests, but there is no evidence that they require modifications to vaccines.
What is the South African alternative?
“The alternative has to become mainstream before you get worried, and then it takes months of studies to determine if it beats a vaccine. The rest is chatter.”
How will population protection be achieved?
«It is difficult to determine the share and history of herd immunity. “Getting vaccines is indeed a miracle, but we do not know whether we will have to use it several times to renew protection, update it for a variant, or put it in the drawer in case the virus disappears.”
How will even the poorest countries be vaccinated?
“The Gates Foundation has submitted a request to us to Africa. The big countries will need a lot of effort on this issue, but I am afraid it will come after they are vaccinated.”