On Sunday, AstraZeneca CEO said the COVID vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in association with the University of Oxford has achieved a “winning formula” for efficacy.

In an interview with the Sunday Times newspaper, Pascal Soriot said the vaccine provides “100% protection” against serious COVID illness requiring hospitalization.

He said he believes clinical trials will show his company has achieved a vaccine efficacy equal to Pfizer-BioNTech (95%) and Moderna (94.5%).

Mentioning that data will be published soon, Soriot said, “We think we have figured out the winning formula and how to get efficacy that, after two doses, is up there with everybody else.”

On December 23, the UK government announced Oxford and AstraZeneca had submitted their vaccine data to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported that the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is expected in the first week of January.

The UK government first authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has been given to nearly 600,000 Britons since last month.

Initially, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine had varying outcomes in its efficacy, showing an average of 70% efficacy but that jumped to 90% depending on the dosage.

Volunteers who received a half-dose first and then a full dose one month later were found to have 90% efficacy.

Soriot said he was “surprised” by the initial findings, adding, “We would have preferred a simpler set of results.”

People criticized the discrepancy in the results due to the lack of clarity and transparency. Soriot said, “We assumed people would be a bit disappointed, that’s for sure, but we didn’t expect that storm.”

AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which is originally based on a weakened version of a chimpanzee virus, is low in cost. Plus, it enjoys a logistical advantage over Pfizer’s vaccine, as it can be stored, handled, and transported at normal refrigerator conditions. Pfizer’s shot needs -94F for storage.

The UK government has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, with 40 million doses scheduled to be available by the end of March.

Dozens of nations have imposed travel restrictions on the UK to stop the spread of the new strain of the coronavirus.

Finance Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak acknowledged it had been “a tough year for everyone in this country.”

However, he added, “The early rollout of vaccines – and the incredible work of our scientists and NHS – means we can now see light at the end of the tunnel.” The article originally appeared on Medical Xpress.