“The Oxford vaccine is… striking, since the point was to pay researchers, but not to rely on patent monopolies to generate large profits.” – Economist Dean Baker
by Alan Macleod
Part 3 - More advantages
Apart from their willingness to share it with the world freely, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has other benefits over its competitors.
Firstly, they aim to make and sell it for $3-4 per shot, rather than the $20 Pfizer charges, or the $25 for Moderna’s offering. Oxford and AstraZeneca have committed to selling the vaccine to developing countries at cost price. And unlike the costlier Pfizer vaccine, it does not have to be stored at -94 degrees Fahrenheit but can be kept in an ordinary refrigerator, making its storage and distribution straightforward everywhere. Further trials of the vaccine involving 60,000 people in the United States, Kenya, Japan, and India are ongoing.
The vaccine is based on a weakened version of a common cold virus and that has been genetically engineered so that it cannot grow in humans. “What we’ve always tried to do with a vaccine is fool the immune system into thinking that there’s a dangerous infection there that it needs to respond to — but doing it in a very safe way,” explained Professor Pollard. “So we get the immune response and we get the immune memory … waiting and ready if the pathogen itself is then encountered.”