The Race To Develop A Coronavirus Vaccine
Some COVID-19 vaccine developers report successful results, others admit that they have failed
On December 21, the European Union approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech on 21 a, and the US authorities on December 19 approved the Moderna vaccine – the second in the country.
Find out more about a vaccine race to end the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 1.7 million people.
Who moved on?
American pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech pioneered the development of vaccines against COVID-19.
On November 18, they were the first in the world to publish the full results of the third phase of clinical trials. The first country to approve emergency use of the vaccine was the United Kingdom on 3 December. It was followed by Canada (December 9) and the United States (December 11). It has also been approved by several other countries, including Saudi Arabia and Mexico..
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved it on December 21.
Who will next approve the Moderna vaccine??
Moderna was only slightly behind Pfizer when it released the full data from the third phase of clinical trials on Nov.30, which estimated the vaccine to be 94 percent effective. Canada approved it on December 23rd and the EMA is expected to approve it on January 6th.
Who else is in the race?
UK company AstraZeneca is seeking UK approval for its vaccine following the publication of interim data on a third phase of trials on 23 November. It was shown to be 70 percent effective, which increased to 90 percent among trial participants who received half the dose first and then the full dose..
AstraZeneca is also in talks with EMA, which carries out ongoing analysis of vaccine data..
US company Johnson Johnson plans to release trial data in January 2021 and expects to receive US government approval in February if its vaccine proves to be effective..
American company Novavax is conducting trials in the UK, the results are expected in the first quarter of 2021.
French company Sanofi and Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline announced on December 11 that their attempts to develop a vaccine had been unsuccessful. The companies explained that the vaccine caused an insufficient immune response in the elderly in the second stage of trials, and they will begin new trials in February..
How effective should vaccines be?
WHO believes that, ideally, a vaccine should demonstrate an efficacy of at least 70 percent. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires at least 50 percent, which means there must be at least twice as many infections among trial participants who received a placebo compared to those who received the actual vaccine. EMA said it can accept lower efficiency.
What’s happening in Russia and China?
Although the Pfizer vaccine was the first to be used after the full data of the third stage of trials was published, Russia and China have been inoculating their citizens with several vaccines for several months now, for which the third stage of trials has not yet ended..
Russia said in November that its Sputnik V vaccine, developed by the Gamalea Institute, was 91.4 percent effective, according to intermediate stage three results. She started vaccination in August and has already vaccinated more than 100 thousand people.
China launched an emergency vaccine program in July. As of mid-November, more than a million people have been vaccinated in the country. At the same time, at least three vaccines are used – two from the state-owned China National Biotec Group and one from Sinovac Biotech..