In the exciting scientific career for get the vaccine which is expected to end the coronavirus pandemic that has already infected nearly 60 million of people around the world, two of the most advanced projects originated in American laboratories: the modern pharmaceutical vaccine, Y Pfizer’s.
In this competition to get to produce the long-awaited vaccine, and in what would be the final result, the first company would have a “great advantage” over the second, according to a report by the American magazine Newsweek.
According to what this research from the prestigious magazine says the Covid-19 vaccine from Modern is easier to store, transport and prepare than Pfizer, and that would be what gives the former an advantage over its competitor when both can be implemented, in principle, in the United States.
The November 9, the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer working with the German biotechnology company BioNTech they announced that your vaccine it was 90% effective in preventing disease. A week later, last Monday, the Moderna biotechnology firm claimed that its vaccine had an effectiveness 94.5%. But on November 18, Pfizer announced that it had concluded its trials and that the effectiveness of their product reached 95%.
These announcements were made in press releases, but the results still they were not published in specialized magazines to be reviewed by scientists working on the subject. This prompted experts to point out that the excitement produced by this news should be viewed with caution. However, last Friday Pfizer requested the Agency of United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the emergency clearance to begin with the vaccination of the population.
Pfizer versus Moderna
As the news of the vaccine development always provides hope about the possible fin of the coronavirus pandemic, it is logical that questions arose about how they would be distributed once they were approved for use in the population. Thus it was learned that the Pfizer should be stored in a place “ultra cold”, with a temperature of 70 degrees below zero, meanwhile, that of Modern needs an environment of 20 degrees below zero.
The need for storage at such low temperatures is because, unlike flu vaccines that can be stored in a refrigerator for a year, these two anti-flu products Covid-19 contain genetic material, a synthetic version of Messenger RNA, which degrades at room temperature.
The teacher Prakash Nagarkatti, Vice President of Research of the University of South Carolina and a member of the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology of the medical school of that university, said that Moderna’s vaccine has a “great advantage” over Pfizer in terms of distribution and storage.
While, Thomas J. Goldsby, president of logistics at the Haslam College of Business Supply Chain Management Department, from University of Tennessee, described as “extreme” to the conditions necessary to maintain the Pfizer vaccine.
“If things get complicated, you can use ice cream coolers or freezers to keep food frozen to store the vaccine Modernbut that won’t be enough for the vaccine Pfizer”, said.
Pfizer developed a suitcase-sized container that can keep cargo ultra cool, but this depends on having dry ice, a material that is in short supply lately, according to what he said. Goldsby.
Nagarkatti, for his part, he said: “Also, if the vaccines are stored in glass ampoules, this material should withstand those arctic temperatures.”
Another point to keep in mind is that facilities in rural areas may not have the expensive freezers who can store the vaccine Pfizer at such a low temperature, according to Nagarkatti. Similar problems can arise if the vaccine is given to people in pharmacies and doctor’s offices, as opposed to larger medical centers.
Some states, cities, and hospitals are “rushing” to buy ultra-cold freezersThat can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and freezer manufacturers are warning of long wait times, he said. Julie Kalabalik – Hoganson, president of Pharmaceutical practice and associate professor at Dickinson University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
Due to these obstacles, urban areas may receive the vaccine Pfizer and rural areas Modern, he pointed Nagarkatti.
Another advantage of Modern vaccine is that it does not require dilution or special handling in healthcare facilities, according to Kalabalik – Hoganson. “This means that administering the (Moderna) vaccine in pharmacies and doctors’ offices will be quite easy,” said the scientist.
A spokesperson for Pfizer provided the aforementioned US media with a general description of its distribution and manufacturing procedures. He said there are several storage options at the facility that “allow equitable access to the vaccine. Pfizer to all areas of different infrastructures “.
Both vaccines face logistical challenges, among other things because the current US president Donald Trump did not yield to the president-elect Joe Biden after the 2020 elections and this makes it difficult for the transition process to begin.
Nagarkatti said: “The timing of the vaccine launch and the change in administration in the United States It couldn’t have come at a worse time. It is essential that the current administration involves the Biden -which will assume the presidency on January 20- to guarantee a smooth transition and proper vaccine distribution“.
William Moss, Executive Director of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health International Vaccine Access Center, explained that in addition to competing for ultra-low temperature freezers, the different states will also compete for basic resources such as needles and syringes. “That is why we need a strong federal response,” he concluded.
With vaccine manufacturers ready to request authorization for their vaccinations and officials preparing to overcome logistical hurdles, the message of Moss for the general public is that they continue wearing masks, respect the distance, wash their hands frequently and avoid large gatherings “until a large proportion of the population is vaccinated, since we know that the vaccine prevents the transmission of the virus and the disease.”
“But this process will take months,” he added.