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covid 19 vaccine

A comparison of Covid-19 vaccines

  • February 8, 2021
  • 5 mins read

In the outgoing race to prevent the coronavirus pandemic, zillions of people in dozens of nations have started to receive Covid-19 vaccines in order to fight the nCoV that has infected approximately 100 million people globally. 

So far, some vaccines, produced by Moderna, Pfizer, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, are the front-runners. In upcoming months, these vaccines are going to save tons of lives. 

According to Onyema Ogbuagu, an infectious disease specialist at Yale Medicine and principal investigator of Yale’s Pfizer COVID-19 trial, “Comparing the vaccine efficacy levels is kind of like “comparing apples to oranges.” 

Following is a basic breakdown on each of the existing COVID-19 Vaccines:

Pfizer/BioNTech:

How it works: The Pfizer shot specifically is a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine, which is believed to transmit messages to our cells that teach our immune system how to fight against coronavirus.

Efficacy: 95% against the symptomatic disease. 

Dosage: 2 shots, 21 days or so apart. 

Effect of Pfizer/BioNTech on COVID-19 mutations: On behalf of a lab study looking at the blood of vaccinated people found this vaccine may be slightly less effective against the maiden variants like the one detected in South Africa, but it still has potential to protect people well. 

What about targeting new variants: According to Ogbuagu, This vaccine can be changed in a couple of days. Pfizer has started already working on the booster shot against the mutations. 

Side effects: Most people will experience pain and soreness in the arm at the site of the shot. Up to half of the people are expected to have flu-like signs such as headaches, chills, fatigue and, more so following the second dose. 

How it’s stored: It believed that these mRNA vaccines are finicky, and need to be stored at subzero temperatures (minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit) in freezers.

Availability: The phase 3 trial has been successfully completed, and the vaccine is now being distributed to the public under the emergency use authorization.

Takeaway: As it was the first approved vaccine, it was rolled out in the U.S., and the Biden administration has already grabbed 100 million more doses. 

Moderna:

How it works: Like Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna’s vaccine also uses mRNA technology.

Efficacy: Efficacy of this vaccine is 94.5% against the symptomatic disease. 

Dosage: 2 shots, 28 days or so days apart. 

Effect of Moderna on COVID-19 mutations: The vaccine is believed to be less effective against the variant dominating in South Africa, but on behalf of a lab study, the shot has potential in order to neutralize the virus and provide useful protection. 

What about targeting new variants: Moderna has already kicked off development as well as testing of a booster shot specifically targeting the variant detected in South Africa.

Side effects: As identical to Pfizer. Most of the people will experience pain and soreness in the arm at the site of the shot. Up to half of the people are expected to feel flu-like signs such as chills, fatigue and headaches, more so following the second dose.

How it’s stored: Moderna vaccine must be carefully stored at subzero temperatures (minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit) in freezers.

Availability: The phase 3 trial of this vaccine has been completed, and the vaccine is now being distributed to the public under the emergency use authorization.

Takeaway: The administration of Biden also purchased an additional 100 million doses from Moderna, so this vaccine will protect another third population of the U.S. 

Novavax:

How it works: As a protein subunit vaccine, it specifically contains a small, harmless, synthetically produced piece of the coronavirus that helps in order to train the immune system how to detect and dismantle the virus. It is not a composition of an actual live virus.

Efficacy: Efficacy of this vaccine is 89.3% against the symptomatic disease

Dosage: 2 shots, 21 days or so apart

Effect of Novavax on COVID-19 mutations: Pretty effective. Its efficacy is around 85.6% against the variant detected in the U.K. and 60% against the variant discovered in South Africa.

What about targeting new variants: Easily, according to experts. Team of Novavax has already started developing a booster dose targeting the variant detected in South Africa and hopefully to test it out in some months.

Side effects: Mild pain and tenderness at the site of shot. In a few cases people may have headaches, fatigue, or muscle aches.

How it’s stored: Basic refrigeration, which is plus. This makes it easier in order to distribute from a logistical perspective.

Availability: The phase 3 trial concludes in a few weeks, but it can take a couple of months before evidence is finalized and submitted to the FDA for approval. Novavax expects to be vaccinating the population by May or June.

Takeaway:  According to Ogbuagu “It will be a welcome addition to the arsenal of vaccines.” It’s a little less efficacious in comparison to the mRNA vaccines, but still, this shot will be useful against the new variants, Ogbuagu said. 

Johnson & Johnson:

How it works: This type of shot is known as a viral vector shot, uses an adenovirus (the type of virus that causes the common cold) in order to teach our immune system how to detect and fight against the coronavirus. It does not cause individuals to get COVID-19.

Efficacy: Efficacy of this vaccine is 66% at preventing the symptomatic disease, 85% at preventing the severe disease, 100% against the hospitalization and death. 

Dosage: Single dose. 

Effect of Johnson & Johnson on COVID-19 mutations: Effect is well, but the overall efficacy does seem to drop with variants. In trials carried out in the U.S, the vaccine was 72% effective, in Latin American trials efficacy was 66% involving the variant that’s dominating Brazil and the efficacy was 57% in South Africa, where the variant named B.1.351 has taken hold. Even so, it still can provide the protection against hospitalization and death.

What about targeting new variants: According to experts, “Changing the viral vector vaccines isn’t quite as simple as modifying mRNA vaccines, but specifically it’s still a fairly easy process without a super long timeline. 

Side effects: A small % of people (9%) reported having a fever. Others have the typical signs: headaches, muscle pain, fatigue, and injection site pain.

How it’s stored: Required basic refrigeration. 

Availability: J&J plans to submit the rest of its safety as well as efficacy data to the Food and Drug Administration in upcoming time. From there, the Food and Drug Administration will review the data, and in case it gets approval under emergency use authorization, people may start receiving quickly.

Takeaway: This one-shot dose will be quite effective for vaccine access as well as distribution. “The amazing thing about it, that it can get to remote and rural areas. Also, this means it may be given in doctors’ offices even without any worry about all the required storage conditions,” stated Daniel Fagbuyi, an emergency physician in the Obama administration.

Oxford/AstraZeneca:

How it works: It is also adenovirus-based. The AstraZeneca vaccine works like the Johnson & Johnson shot.

Efficacy: Efficacy of this vaccine 70% against the symptomatic disease. 

Dosage: 2 doses. In studies, the doses were given between 4 to 12 weeks apart.

Effect of Oxford/AstraZeneca on COVID-19 mutations: It works just as well on the variant found in the U.K., but data is still being collected on how precisely and effectively it protects against the variant detected in South Africa.

What about targeting new variants: As identical to Johnson & Johnson, slower than an mRNA, but still speedy.

Side effects: Pain and tenderness at the site of injection. Fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, chills and fever have also been reported.

How it’s stored: Required basic refrigeration. 

Availability: The phase 3 trial has been completed, and this vaccine is being distributed in the EU under emergency authorization use. 

Takeaway: The inexpensive cost of this vaccine along with its basic storage requirements give AstraZeneca a huge advantage. It’ll be quite easier for healthcare providers to have the essential supplies and get the vaccine out into the population, Fagbuyi stated.

Reference:

https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/02/03/comparing-coronavirus-vaccines-heres-how-they-workhttps://www.biospace.com/article/comparing-covid-19-vaccines-pfizer-biontech-moderna-astrazeneca-oxford-j-and-j-russia-s-sputnik-v/

https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-how-do-the-pfizer-oxford-moderna-novavax-and-johnson-johnson-coronavirus-vaccines-compare-12202329

https://www.siliconvalley.com/2021/02/03/comparing-coronavirus-vaccines-heres-how-they-work/utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=linkedin

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/covid-19-india-south-asia-7157779/

Related:

COVISHIELD:

Apart from this, the AstraZeneca shot, locally branded as COVISHIELD in India, is expected to meet around 90% of India’s mass immunisation programme requirements, the official said.

Here you can take a look at the nations where help or assistance has reached from India.

  • Europe
  • Maldives and Bhutan
  • Bangladesh
  • Nepal
  • Myanmar, Seychelles
  • Sri Lanka
  • Brazil and Morocco

COVAXIN™:

COVAXIN™ has been granted the approval for emergency restricted use in India by DCGI-CDSCO on Jan 03, 2021.

Bharat biotech has been approached by multiple nations globally for the procurement of COVAXIN.

Clinical trials in other nations to commence soon. Supplies from one government to another government in some nations take place, which are: Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Oman, Myanmar, Philippines, Bahrain, Maldives and Mauritius.