Early results are arriving from the third phase of clinical trials involving Covid-19 vaccine candidates and they are highly promising so far. Pfizer and BioNTech were the first to release early findings on November 09 when they reported that their BNT162b2 vaccine is 90 percent effective against Covid-19. There was more good news yesterday when Moderna stated that their candidate is 94.5 percent effective. Both vaccines are based on introducing genetic material, mRNA, into the human body in order to produce spike proteins that prevent the coronavirus from entering human cells.
In both cases, the shot is administered twice over the space of several weeks. Despite the positive results, there is no data regarding whether the candidates prevent the coronavirus from being transmitted as well as for how long protection lasts. The Moderna vaccine does have an advantage over the Pfizer/BioNTech one in that it can be stored at temperatures of between 2C and 8C for 30 days, making distribution easier. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, on the other hand, must be stored at -80C, exacerbating logistical challenges. Moderna is set to apply for Emergency Use Authorization with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over the next few weeks and the company said that it will have 20 million doses of its vaccine ready to ship in the U.S. by the end of the year.
Some other good vaccine news seems to have flown under the radar over the past few days and it concerns Russia’s Gam-COVID-Vac, better known by its tradename of Sputnik V. Developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, it has proven controversial as it was approved for distribution despite being tested in a small number of people. Nevertheless, Russia has announced that Sputnik V is 92% effective at preventing Covid-19. While experts cautioned about the small number of participants in trials, they still reported that the results are encouraging.
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