Covid-19 Vaccine Update

COVID-19 VACCINE UPDATE

The global threat from Covid-19 pandemic continues and the biopharmaceutical industry is working hard to develop a safe and effective vaccine. Recently there has been encouraging news about coronavirus vaccines, with some successful trials reported.

MODERNA

Moderna develops vaccines based on messenger RNA (mRNA) to produce viral proteins in the body. The vaccine contains genetic instructions for building a coronavirus protein, known as spike. When injected into cells, the vaccine causes them to make spike proteins, which then get released into the body and provoke a response from the immune system.

It protects 94.5% of people. It is given in two doses, four weeks apart.

It is easier to store because it stays stable at -20C for up to six months.

PFIZER/BIONTECH

Like Moderna’s vaccine, Pfizer and BioNTech’s preparation is based on mRNA.

They showed it stops more than 90% of people developing Covid symptoms.

It is given in two doses, three weeks apart.

The main drawback is that it falls apart unless it’s kept in a deep freeze. As a result, the vaccine will have to be chilled to minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit) until it’s ready to be injected. It will be transported in a special box, packed in dry ice.

OXFORD UNIVERSITY/ASTRAZENECA

Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine is the third vaccine. It is not a genetic vaccine. It is made from a weakened version of a common cold virus from chimpanzees, that has been modified to not grow in humans (genetically modified virus). Trials show it stops 70% of people developing covid symptoms. There is data suggesting that perfecting the dose could increase protection up to 90%. It is given in two doses. This may be one of the easiest vaccines to distribute, because it requires regular fridge temperature for storage.

These vaccines are raising hopes of restoring some normalcy in our lives in the months to come and providing light at the end of the tunnel.

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