The Covid-19 virus changed our lifestyle. This highly contagious and often deadly virus forced us to stay in lockdowns and damaged the global economy critically, destroying many people’s lifeline in the process. To fight the virus, the U.S. government-sanctioned Operation Warp Speed, with the main task of creating a vaccine against the Covid-19. Almost seven months passed, but at last, we have two strong candidates and hope that the working vaccine will be available soon.
Two big companies are currently leading the race for a coronavirus vaccine, and both have released promising results from their Phase 3 trials. One of the candidate vaccines belongs to Pfizer and the German biotechnology company BioNTech. They first released early findings of their vaccine, BNT162b2, on Nov. 9.
Moderna, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company, is the second firm, which came very close to developing a working vaccine. On Monday, it released data on its candidate – mRNA-1273. The company works in collaboration with the U.S. government.
However, the results from both companies are preliminary. They will likely announce the final results in a few weeks.
How effective are the existing vaccines?
According to the latest trials, Moderna’s vaccine is 94.5% effective against the virus. Scientists expect a final analysis to include 151 trial volunteers. At that point, Moderna can be 90% sure that its findings will hold true.
Meanwhile, Pfizer’s interim results showed that its vaccine was more than 90% effective. Out of Pfizer’s 44,000 volunteers, half the participants received the vaccine and half a placebo. According to the new data, COVID-19 infected more people who received the placebo than the vaccine. Pfizer/BioNTech plans to do the last check of effectiveness when 164 study participants have fallen ill.
Furthermore, both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech reported mild or moderate side effects. It’s mostly pain at the injection site, as well as fatigue and aching muscles and joints for a day or two.
Dr. William Schaffner, the professor of health policy at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, stated that a sore arm and feeling crummy for a day or two is a lot better than coronavirus.
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are both based on delivering strands of genetic material to turn our cells into spike protein factories. This is the first time when scientists used this technology in an approved vaccine. However, other vaccines have taken 15-20 years to develop and test. That’s why scientists have chosen the mRNA technology this time. It can be developed quickly.