The Three Front Runners in the COVID-19 Vaccine Race
By Space Coast Daily // January 29, 2021
Clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccines have come to an end, and countries worldwide are now starting to distribute their chosen vaccines to their countrymen. Vaccines usually take several years to develop as it needs thorough processes to ensure its safety and efficacy. However, due to the urgency, pharmaceutical companies have made the impossible possible.
The COVID-19 vaccine was the fastest vaccine developed in history as it only took pharma companies 12 months to develop. Thanks to the scientists behind the development plus the technology we have today, the race for the COVID-19 vaccine is nearing an end.
Although these vaccines are now being distributed, we still can’t consider the race to be over. We are currently in the first month of the distribution, and problems are popping up here and there. Though it is expected some vaccines are already noticeably better than others. Here are the three most favored vaccines.
The BioNTech, Pfizer vaccine is currently leading the race with an efficacy rate of 95%. Many countries have signed a contract with Pfizer to distribute the vaccine, while some countries already started their mass vaccination using the Pfizer vaccine.
In terms of public trust, Pfizer is at the top of the list for most people. It is a well-known reputable company where most of its products are already used by many, so it is not so hard for the public to trust the vaccine from BioNTech, Pfizer.
The vaccine is a combined effort of the German firm BioNTech and Pfizer, a top pharmaceutical company. They made the vaccine based on mRNA, a new approach in vaccines that trigger our body to release an immune response by tricking our immune system into thinking that it has been attacked.
When the mRNA vaccine is injected into our body, it will instruct our cells to create a protein that prompts the immune system to create antibodies.
Although fewer side effects were recorded on Pfizer’s vaccine during their clinical trials, it will not be the same when giving it to the public. For instance, there were multiple deaths recorded in Norway after they had taken the Pfizer vaccine. All of them were elderly from a nursing home and were reported to have underlying medical conditions.
What happened has raised the alarm worldwide, which may affect the popularity of the Pfizer vaccine. However, most Pfizer recipients, especially healthy individuals, have experienced none to mild side effects from the vaccine. The Pharma company already announced these side effects during their clinical trials.
The second runner-up in the COVID-19 vaccine race is Moderna. It is also an mRNA-base vaccine the same as the BioNTech, Pfizer vaccine with an efficacy rate of 94.10%. Moderna vaccine recipients will also experience mild to moderate side effects after being vaccinated.
All participants of their clinical trials have positive responses as they successfully produced antibodies against the COVID-19 virus. Some participants were given a higher dose than the others, and it was reported that the level of their antibodies was a bit higher than others.
The researchers also compared the antibody levels from the participants to the COVID-19 recoveries, where they noticed that both vaccinated and recovered have the same level of antibodies detected.
There haven’t been so many negative reports regarding the Moderna vaccine but they are very cautious as they are also an mRNA-base vaccine-like Pfizer. However, there is still little information about the Moderna vaccine available for us to conclude. As Moderna started shipping out their vaccines, everyone is waiting for any update regarding how the recipients respond to the said vaccine.
Oxford University, AstraZeneca
The third COVID-19 vaccine that acquired an Authorization for Emergency Use from the FDA is the Astrazeneca of Oxford University. Unlike Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that use mRNA, the Astrazeneca vaccine uses an adenovirus vector.
The adenovirus vector was in development for 30 years, and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was finally put to the test. Adenovirus vector is a genetically engineered virus that will trigger our cells to create a coronavirus spike protein, which will then be detected by our immune system.
Once it has been detected, our immune system will think they are under attack, which will trigger a release of antibodies. AstraZeneca uses the DNA of Sars-Cov-2 to insert into the adenovirus vector so that our body can make an antibody for that specific virus.
This type of virus was not yet used for vaccines because scientists are still waiting for the perfect virus that our immune system is unfamiliar with. Your immune system will only attack the adenovirus vaccine if it is made by a virus that your immune system has already been exposed to.
It is why the coronavirus became the perfect candidate for the adenovirus vector vaccine, as it is new, and our immune system hasn’t been exposed to it. AstraZeneca vaccines only have 70% in terms of efficacy rate, which is much lower than Pfizer and Moderna.
The first recipient of the AstraZeneca vaccine is an 82 years old dialysis patient in the U.K. The United Kingdom is the first to approve the use of the said vaccine. Even with AstraZeneca vaccination’s reported success to an elderly with a medical condition, it is still hard to assume if it will be the safest option for the elderly.
If you are confused about what vaccine to consider, you can check the latest news and updates regarding each vaccine. You can tune in to TV reports or even listen through radio stations about any development about COVID-19 vaccines.
You can find the best radio and tv station recommendations in your area in the rankings. It is also best to do your research and cross-reference what you heard in the news before jumping to a conclusion.
With the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, everyone hopes that it will finally end the pandemic to go back to our normal pre-pandemic lives. All of the COVID-19 vaccines that acquired authorization for emergency use from the FDA are safe and effective. They have undergone a series of comprehensive tests before making it available to the public.