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Vaccine news latest: Oxford-AstraZeneca promising results, FDA authorizes Regeneron’s treatment

On Monday, AstraZeneca announced that its experimental coronavirus — which was developed in conjunction with U.K.'s University of Oxford — vaccine has shown an average efficacy of 70% in large-scale trials. Meanwhile, the FDA issued an EUA (emergency use authorization) for Regeneron's antibody cocktail to treat the coronavirus in high-risk patients. Yahoo Finance’s Anjalee Khemlani breaks down the latest on the vaccine news front.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: That 70% number looks worse than the efficacy rates for some of the other experimental vaccines, but the dosage is sort of changing some of those numbers as well.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: Right. So what we're looking at is that AstraZeneca out this morning with some news positive about at least 70% effective-- efficacy of its vaccine as well as a follow up showing 90%, and that kind of matches what we've seen in terms of post two doses, a higher efficacy rating in the other trials.

But what is making some analysts question this is, number one, the idea that this type of vaccine is not nearly as effective, at least in the results that have been provided. And it's not clear exactly where, you know, the data sits. One analyst from SVB Leerink says that this vaccine is unlikely to be approved in the US because of the fact that it doesn't meet all the FDA criteria in terms of being, you know, tested in a more diverse population, among other things. And, of course, we know that has been the extra push that we saw from the likes of Moderna and Pfizer.

And because of the type of technology that it's using, it's also throwing into question whether or not Johnson & Johnson's vaccine, because they're using a similar platform, will also be effective. So after, you know, the rush of good news from this newer technology, there seems to be a little bit hesitancy. However, we do know that the UK is very bullish on this vaccine and plans to roll it out next month to the population.

So while the information does come from the UK trials, we know that the US trials are still ongoing and do have some results left to be looked at. Julie.

MYLES UDLAND: Well, Anjalee, we've talked a lot about the vaccine progress. And, of course, that is very exciting, probably the most positive news we can get in terms of ending the pandemic. But we also got news over the weekend on Regeneron's treatment for COVID getting Emergency Use Authorization, perhaps softening some of the impacts, maybe in some cases, of COVID hospitalizations particularly.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: That is true. And so Regeneron got that EUA. Of course, we know that that is the antibody therapy that President Trump did receive while he was in the hospital. But what did come out from the results and from that statement from Regeneron is that it's actually targeted more towards the mild to moderate cases of COVID-19. And so that actually does, yes, help with hospitalizations but not so much, as many health experts have pointed out, with the severe cases. That's where the real strain on hospitalization comes from where they have to start making really harsh, you know, decisions on rationing care.

And that has been treated by just one drug, which is dexamethasone. And so while it does add another tool in the tool box, this one is more particularly important for pediatric care. It is allowed to be used on individuals-- on kids ages 12 and older. And so that's really where some of the excitement is coming from for Regeneron.

But, of course, we know the idea of antibody therapy has held some promise for multiple reasons. Not only does it help with treatments, it also provides an option for those who don't have the ability to get a vaccine. So there's multiple uses for it. So there's definitely some promise there, Myles.