One of the biggest challenges is delivering a promising coronovirus vaccine based on unprecedented technology to millions of people around the world.
When Pfizer Inc. The downside was that when it announced effective preliminary results for its vaccine candidate last week, it would have to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, posing significant logistical challenges. But Modern Inc. unilaterally competed against its competitor on Monday, offering a vaccine based on the same technology that appears to be just as effective, but can also be stored at regular refrigerated temperatures for a month. .
The difference is significant. Supplying routine vaccines to people in remote parts of Africa in India is difficult enough only in terms of supply and transportation. The temperature factor introduces a more difficult barrier, forcing countries to create storage and transport networks capable of maintaining a temperature higher than that required for frozen meat. The prospect of large-scale investment and coordination increased the possibility that access only to rich countries would be guaranteed.
“The modern vaccine is a more viable option for low- and middle-income countries than the Pfizer vaccine,” said Rachel Silverman, member of the Center for Global Development in Washington. “The need for cold storage is very low.”
Not only can the modernist vaccine remain stable in the refrigerator for 30 days, it can also be stored in a regular freezer for long-term use. Pfizer’s vaccine needs to be stored at minus 70 degrees and can only be refrigerated for five days – at least until its researchers can compete with Modern’s success.
“Modern vaccines can be housed in an existing vaccine distribution network,” said Ayuffer Ali, assistant professor at Warwick Business School in the UK and specialist in pharmaceutical research, “Even in remote and underdeveloped areas , refrigerators Are available or can be provided at low cost. ”. “
Although Modern has made deals with a handful of developed countries for its vaccines, it has received funding from a nonprofit coalition to prepare for the pandemic and therefore help provide access for middle-income countries to the lower edge. May be related, said Silverman.
The vaccine from the Boston-based biotech company uses the same new and experimental messenger RNA mechanism as Pfizer. The emergence of two promising candidates is helping to reduce fears that one vaccine will not be enough to meet global demand.
Ali said: “We have all the capabilities and have to use all the vaccines put online.”
Pfizer could also make its vaccines more viable by upgrading – possibly in a freeze-dried form – to avoid the refrigeration problem, said Gillies O’Bryan-Tear, Faculty of Policy and Communications, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine, UK. .
Meanwhile, hundreds of Kovid-19 vaccines are in the works, and it is possible that another more profitable candidate will emerge that uses proven technology and is easier to manufacture and ship, experts said.
Saad Omar, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health, said: “I think it will become clear in the next few months that there are other Phase III vaccines that are in the works.” “There will be decisions on the costs of the action versus the expectation. Depending on some larger specs and the need for ultra-cold chains you may decide to wait, I think that would be a big calculation.
Other vaccine options may be needed as many current pharmaceutical manufacturers do not have production facilities for messenger RNA technology.
Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India Ltd, said the world’s largest vaccine maker said the company has no plans to acquire the new facility for at least 2.5 years. Construction is complete.
“This type of innovation is great for the long haul,” Poonawala said in an interview. But the question is how many of them will be practically “usable,” he said.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)