Covid-19 has raged across the world, killing more than 1.3 million people and infecting more than 58 million. A vaccine is desperately needed for things to go back to normal. Recently, many pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have made Covid-19 vaccine candidates, which may prove to be effective for use. If this happens, they will be approved by the FDA and then mass-produced and distributed. Moderna, Pfizer, and most recently AstraZeneca have produced their own vaccines that show very promising results.
Moderna announced last Monday that their Covid-19 vaccine (called mRNA-1273) is 94.5% effective; there were 95 cases of Covid-19 among the 30,000 patients, and only five of them had developed after they received the vaccine. Even Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is surprised at how effective the vaccine is. There were only 11 severe Covid-19 cases, all in the placebo group. The Moderna vaccine appeared to be consistently effective across all ages and races. The company said that they would try to get their vaccine approved by the FDA in the next few weeks.
Pfizer and BioNtech have also collaborated to create a vaccine candidate. Their vaccine, BNT162b2, has proved to be 95% effective at preventing Covid-19. Pfizer completed a trial of 44,000 patients, and an estimated 39,000 have received the vaccine. Ninety-four patients contracted the virus, and the vaccine protected the overwhelming majority of them. Pfizer has requested for emergency approval from the FDA, which may take a few months if successful. Currently the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are using new messenger RNA technology, which may change how future vaccines are made.
According to the Associated Press, AstraZeneca has recently released their results and the data says that their vaccine is 90% effective and cheap. The AstraZeneca vaccine, AZD1222, can be stored at 2-8°C compared to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines that have to be stored in freezing temperatures. AstraZeneca claimed that they would not make a profit off of the vaccine and has agreed to set its price to $2.50 per dose rather than the $20 per dose from Moderna or Pfizer. AstraZeneca has completed a trial of 23,000 people, and half of them received the vaccine while the others received a placebo. There were no hospitalizations or severe cases of Covid-19 from the trial, so the company has started to increase their manufacturing to make hundreds of millions of doses starting in January of next year (if approved by regulators). Though recently, there has been news on complications with AstraZeneca’s transparency of results.
The world is highly dependent on these companies’ vaccines being approved soon. The new vaccines could stop thousands of people from dying every day, and leaders from around the world are trying to make the vaccine affordable and equally accessible to all people. For now, the world is still waiting for health organizations to announce their approval.