It’s not perfect… but it will save lives: Astrazeneca boss Pascal Soriot hails Covid vaccine as profits soar
Astrazeneca boss Pascal Soriot has defended his company’s Covid-19 jab, insisting it is ‘not perfect’ but will save lives.
The two-dose shot, developed with Oxford University, has been backed by the World Health Organisation and hailed as a ‘vaccine for the world’ because of its low cost and ease of transport.
But Astra faced criticism over the way it published early clinical trial data, while the company also became embroiled in a high-profile spat with European Union chiefs over supply problems.
Astrazeneca boss Pascal Soriot (pictured) said he was proud of the company’s work and its decision to provide the jab at no profit
There have also been fears in recent days that it may be less effective against emerging variants of the virus – but experts have said it should still prevent serious disease and hospitalisations.
And responding to the concerns yesterday, an upbeat Soriot said he was proud of Astra’s work and its decision to provide the jab at no profit.
The 61-year-old Frenchman said: ‘Scientific venture is always challenging. And the big picture today is that we have a vaccine that has been approved by several important regulators.
‘Is it perfect? No it is not perfect. But it’s great. Tell me who else is making 100m doses in February, and we can have a discussion.
‘We are going to save thousands of lives and that is why we come to work every day as individuals.’
Astra said that revenues for 2020 had grown by 9 per cent to £19.3billion – with new medicines making up more than half of sales. Profits jumped from £1.1billion to £2.8billion.
Soriot said the company was in a promising position for the future. The firm’s £28billion proposed takeover of US rare disease specialist Alexion would also add valuable scientific expertise to its arsenal.
But Astra warned of the impact of patients making fewer trips to the doctor, which could hurt sales of prescription medicines.