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Moderna, Biontech and Pfizer Corona vaccines — big side effect hope against Covid-19 — today

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Covid 19 aid - Moderna, Biontech and Pfizer Corona vaccines - big side effect hope against Covid-19 - today
Pho­to: AP

After and , the US com­pa­ny Mod­er­na also reports that its vac­cine is aston­ish­ing­ly effec­tive. This should also pro­tect against severe cours­es. And there is per­haps a deci­sive advan­tage over the com­pe­ti­tion in terms of logis­tics. What was unclear for a long time is emerg­ing as an actu­al way out of the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic: Just one week after the Mainz-based com­pa­ny Bion­tech and its part­ner Pfiz­er, US com­peti­tor Mod­er­na also announced a suc­cess with a vac­cine. The com­pa­ny announced that this an effec­tive­ness of 94.5 per­cent. But Mod­er­na also men­tions oth­er advan­tages: such as pro­tec­tion against severe cours­es and a sur­pris­ing­ly high sta­bil­i­ty of the prepa­ra­tion at refrig­er­a­tor tem­per­a­tures.

Pan­demics on the Rise mRNA — The Vac­cine for the 21st Cen­tu­ry?

Bion­tech had also stat­ed an effec­tive­ness of more than 90 per­cent for its vac­cine BNT162b2, but with­out giv­ing fur­ther details. Mod­er­na is becom­ing more pre­cise: Of the around 30,000 par­tic­i­pants in the phase 3 study on the mRNA-1273 vac­cine, 95 had so far con­tract­ed Covid-19. As it turns out, 90 cas­es occurred in the con­trol group who received a place­bo instead of the vac­cine. From the group of those vac­ci­nat­ed, how­ev­er, only five par­tic­i­pants fell ill. This results in a pro­tec­tive effect of 94.5 per­cent. How­ev­er, the com­pa­ny empha­sizes that this val­ue could change by the end of the study. “It does­n’t get any bet­ter — 94.5 per­cent is real­ly excel­lent,” com­ment­ed renowned US immu­nol­o­gist Antho­ny Fau­ci, accord­ing to CNN. “I’ve always said I would be hap­py with a 75 per­cent effec­tive vac­cine. An ambi­tious expec­ta­tion would have been 90 or 95 per­cent, but we did­n’t expect that.” The expert Peter Open­shaw from Impe­r­i­al Col­lege Lon­don spoke of “excit­ing” news. They increased “opti­mism that we will have a selec­tion of good in the next few months”.

Like Bion­tech and Pfiz­er, Mod­er­na is also using an mRNA vac­cine — a very new process for which there is still no approved vac­cine in the world. It is all the more aston­ish­ing that this tech­nol­o­gy is not only the first to deliv­er results, but also a sur­pris­ing­ly high lev­el of pro­tec­tion against Covid-19. This con­firms that the con­cept of mRNA “is a use­ful strat­e­gy not only for Covid, but also for threats from future infec­tious dis­eases,” said US immu­nol­o­gist Bar­ry Bloom of the New York Times.

“No sig­nif­i­cant safe­ty con­cerns”

In addi­tion to being high­ly effec­tive, Mod­er­na also reports that its mRNA vac­cine is well tol­er­at­ed. There are no sig­nif­i­cant safe­ty con­cerns, the press release said. In the study, there were only mild to mod­er­ate side effects: includ­ing fatigue, mus­cle, joint or headache as well as pain after the punc­ture, but each was only “short-lived”. Mod­er­na also pro­vides infor­ma­tion on an impor­tant ques­tion: Accord­ing to com­pa­ny boss Stéphane Ban­cel, the vac­cine can pre­vent not only mild but also severe Covid-19 dis­eases. Among the patients in the study were eleven with severe cours­es — but they all belonged to the place­bo group. Bion­tech and Pfiz­er had not released details about the impact of their vac­cine on severe dis­ease.

Inter­view with Bion­tech founder Sahin: “Vac­cine is almost per­fect”

How­ev­er, there are still unan­swered ques­tions about the Mod­er­na vac­cine. For exam­ple, whether the pro­tec­tive effect is equal­ly pro­nounced in younger and old­er peo­ple. This is of par­tic­u­lar impor­tance because old­er peo­ple are par­tic­u­lar­ly at risk of get­ting seri­ous­ly ill with Covid-19. In the case of mRNA-1273, too, it is unclear how long the pro­tec­tion by vac­ci­na­tion lasts. Both ques­tions are still unan­swered with regard to the Bion­tech vac­cine.

Advan­tage over Bion­tech vac­cine

Anoth­er hur­dle for mRNA vac­cines: they have to be stored at low tem­per­a­tures in order to remain sta­ble. While the Bion­tech vac­cine has to be trans­port­ed at minus 70 degrees to the loca­tion of the vac­ci­na­tion, minus 20 degrees are suf­fi­cient for the prepa­ra­tion from Mod­er­na, the com­pa­ny said. Because Mod­er­na uses a dif­fer­ent recipe for the pro­tec­tive fat glob­ules in which the mRNA is embed­ded, said Mod­er­na spokesman Ray Jor­dan accord­ing to the “New York Times”. Mod­er­na also announced that the shelf life of its vac­cine at refrig­er­a­tor tem­per­a­ture is longer than expect­ed: name­ly 30 days at a tem­per­a­ture of two to eight degrees. Pre­vi­ous­ly, a shelf life of sev­en days was assumed. Accord­ing to Pfiz­er, the Bion­tech vac­cine can­not be stored at sim­i­lar tem­per­a­tures for more than five days. Accord­ing to experts, the low­er tem­per­a­ture sen­si­tiv­i­ty of the Mod­er­na vac­cine is an advan­tage in terms of logis­tics. In the USA, for exam­ple, med­ical prac­tices and phar­ma­cies are equipped to cool vac­cines at minus 20 degrees — but not for minus 70 degrees, as required by the Bion­tech vac­cine.

“Actu­al­ly a waste prod­uct” Bion­tech is attract­ing bil­lions in sales with vac­cine

Mod­er­na now wants — like Bion­tech and Pfiz­er — to apply for an emer­gency approval for its vac­cine in the USA in the com­ing weeks. Appli­ca­tions to the approval author­i­ties in oth­er coun­tries are also planned. 20 mil­lion vac­cine dos­es could be ready for deliv­ery in the USA by the end of the year. Accord­ing to its own infor­ma­tion, the com­pa­ny could pro­duce between 500 mil­lion and one bil­lion vac­cine dos­es in 2021. So far, there is no vac­cine against Covid-19 approved accord­ing to West­ern stan­dards. In Chi­na, how­ev­er, almost half a mil­lion peo­ple have already been vac­ci­nat­ed with the vac­cine from the state biotech com­pa­ny Sinopharm, report­ed the Wall Street Jour­nal. The Russ­ian Min­istry of Health had already approved the “Sput­nik V” vac­cine on August 11th — accord­ing to the inter­im results of the ongo­ing phase 3 study, this coro­na vac­cine is 92 per­cent effec­tive.

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