Importance of Moderna ad for other vaccines

(CNN Español) – The company Modern ad Through a press release that their Phase 3 vaccine candidate has shown an efficacy of 94.5% in preventing infection of the new coronavirus. And Pfizer announced last week that its trial vaccine is more than 90% effective in preventing contagion. Both news are encouraging in the efforts to distribute vaccines and end the pandemic.

You can listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast platform, or read the transcript below.


Hello, I am Dr. Elmer Huerta and this is your daily dose of information about the new coronavirus.

Information that we hope will be useful to take care of your health and that of your family.

Through a press release, not a scientific study yet, Moderna company just announced that your vaccine candidate has shown an efficacy of 94.5% in preventing infection with the new coronavirus. In addition, it indicates that the side effects are mild, although it clarifies that a more complete report is expected in the coming weeks.

This announcement joins the news, a week before and developed in the november 9 episode, from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which reported that its vaccine against covid-19 had also achieved an effectiveness of more than 90%.

Encouraging results from Moderna and Pfizer vaccines

Both ads are very good because they show us that the path that science is taking to find a vaccine is the right one.

Let’s remember, as we said in the July 16 episode, that Moderna’s vaccine uses the same messenger RNA technology as Pfizer’s vaccine. However, as we will see later, it has important differences in its stability under freezing.

The statement said that 95 of the 30,000 volunteers participating in the phase 3 study developed COVID-19, of which 11 were severe.

Of those 95 infected, 90 received the placebo and only 5 received the vaccine. This clearly shows that the latter were protected by the vaccine from infection.

I should clarify that –as we describe it in the episodes of 19 Y August 20th– I am a volunteer for phase 3 of Moderna’s vaccine, but I still don’t know if I received the vaccine or the placebo.

Like Pfizer, Moderna is expected to apply for an emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by the end of November, and once granted, the vaccination of the groups at high risk of contagion.

In this regard, Moderna says that it is capable of manufacturing 20 million doses by the end of the year. Pfizer indicates that it could have 50 million doses ready.

That indicates that vaccination of the general public could occur in the first half of 2021.

LOOK: Covid-19 vaccine could be delivered in late 2020, says BioNTech

A recent article from the STAT portal describes some of the encouraging repercussions these announcements have for vaccines in general, and we will take the opportunity to briefly review the subject.

Other vaccines benefit from Pfizer’s results

First, the fact that Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccine targeted the virus spike as their center of attack is excellent news for all other vaccines. This is because all the other candidates – regardless of the technological platform they use – are also based on the spike of the new coronavirus as their antigenic point.

As we said in the March 20 episode, the spike is the part of the viral structure that allows the virus to enter cells. Blocking the spikes, as Pfizer’s initial results show, is proof that the target was well chosen to prevent infection.

Second, the news of the effectiveness of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines is excellent for validating the new messenger RNA technology used by these two vaccines.

This technology, described in the July 16 episode, uses the portion of the genetic code of the new coronavirus that makes the spike, which is converted into a messenger RNA. When injected, it tricks the person’s immune system. The system thinks it is being attacked by the whole virus and begins to produce neutralizing antibodies.

The importance of getting vaccinated

Third, the fact that the initial results indicate that the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are more than 90% effective it could help the general public agree to get vaccinated.

That 90% is remarkable because the FDA had estimated a modest 50% effectiveness for a vaccine candidate. Such a low expectation was chosen because it is, on average, the same as that of the flu vaccine.

That is why having a vaccine that is more than 90% effective would be a great encouragement for people to agree to be vaccinated. Is that as we said in the July 27 episode: almost half of the population in the United States would not agree to be vaccinated, mainly due to distrust of the speed with which vaccines have been developed.

Pfizer Vaccine Storage Challenges

Fourth, the news from Pfizer raises the issue of logistics related to the storage and distribution of vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine should be stored at -70 degrees Celsius. This temperature is only reached by freezers not widely available, even in the United States.

For its part, despite using the same technology, Moderna’s vaccine, what’s wrong with it different ingredients in its preparation, it does not need to be stored at such low temperatures as Pfizer’s.

According to the Moderna statement, its vaccine requires to be stored at -20 degrees Celsius, but it can last up to 30 days in a common refrigerator. Already at room temperature, Moderna said her vaccine can last 12 hours.

Undoubtedly, these differences will be important for countries when choosing the type of vaccine they want to buy for their populations.

In short, the Moderna and Pfizer ads, which must be endorsed by scientific publications, are not only good for those two vaccines in particular but also for the vaccine system in general.

Do you have questions about the coronavirus?

Send me your questions on Twitter, we will try to answer them in our next episodes. You can find me in @DrHuerta.

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If you have any questions you can send it to doctor Elmer Huerta via Twitter. You can also go to CNNE.com/coronaviruspodcast for all the episodes of our podcast «Coronavirus: Reality vs. fiction”.

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