Saturday, July 31, 2021

Top Covid Vaccines being Developed Worldwide

Top Covid Vaccines being Developed Worldwide

Across the world, several Covid vaccines are being developed. Recently, a Covid vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNtech has been approved for use in the UK. Sequel to the approval of the vaccine, the first doses have been given to patients.

Here’s a look at all the vaccines currently being developed.

Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine

In November, Pfizer/BioNTech had a big breakthrough concerning a Covid vaccine. They published their first results which showed.

  • Their Covid vaccine is up to 95% effective.
  • The UK will get 40 million doses.
  • The vaccine will be given in two doses, three weeks apart.
  • About 43,000 people have had the vaccine, with no safety concerns.

The Covid vaccine must be stored at a temperature of around -70C. It will be transported in a special box, packed in dry ice, and installed with GPS trackers.

On 2 December, the UK became the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for widespread use.

On 8 December, 90-year-old Margaret Keenan became the first patient to receive the vaccine at University Hospital in Coventry. 800,000 more doses are expected to be given in the coming weeks.

The vaccine is a new type called an RNA and uses a tiny fragment of the virus’s genetic code. This starts making part of the virus inside the body, which the immune system recognises as foreign and starts to attack.

An RNA vaccine has never been approved for use in humans before, although people have received them in clinical trials for other diseases.

Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine

Trials of the Oxford vaccine show it stops 70% of people developing Covid symptoms. The data also shows a strong immune response in older people.

  • There is also intriguing data that suggests perfecting the dose could increase protection up to 90%.
  • The UK has ordered 100 million doses.
  • It is also given in two doses.
  • Trials with more than 20,000 volunteers are still continuing.

This may be one of the easiest Covid vaccines to distribute, because it does not need to be stored at very cold temperatures.

Moderna Covid vaccines

Moderna also uses the same approach as the Pfizer vaccine.

  • It protects 94.5% of people.
  • The UK will have five million doses by the spring.

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  • It is given in two doses, four weeks apart.
  • 30,000 have been involved in the trials, with half getting the vaccine and half dummy injections.

It is easier to store than Pfizer’s because it stays stable at -20C for up to six months.

What other Covid vaccines are being developed?

Other trial results are also expected in the coming weeks.

  • Data on the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, which works like the Oxford one, suggests it is 92% efficient.
  • Janssen’s trial is recruiting 6,000 people across the UK, in a total of 30,000 volunteers worldwide. Their aim is to see if two jabs give stronger and longer-lasting immunity than one.
  • Wuhan Institute of Biological Products and Sinopharm in China, and also Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute are all in final testing.

Also, a trial in Brazil for a drug developed by the Chinese firm Sinovac has suspended. This is after a “severe adverse incident” which is believed to be a volunteer’s death.

Who will get the vaccine first?

This depends on where Covid is spreading when the vaccine becomes available and in which groups each is most effective.

Older care home residents and staff top the UK’s preliminary priority list. Closely followed by health workers like hospital staff, and the over 80s. Age is, by far, Covid’s biggest risk factor.

What still needs to be done?

  • Trials must show Covid vaccines are safe.
  • Huge-scale development must happen for the billions of potential doses.
  • Regulators must approve the vaccine before it can be given.
  • Researchers also need to find out how long any protection may last.

It is thought that 60-70% of the global population must be immune to stop the virus spreading easily (herd immunity). 60 – 70% = billions of people, even if the vaccine works perfectly.

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