COVID-19: Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine – is it a breakthrough?

Ten post jest także dostępny w języku: polski

On Monday, Pfizer and BioNTech reported that the COVID-19 vaccine they are working on is over 90% effective. At that time, the world was overwhelmed with enthusiasm. On Wednesday, the EC signed an agreement with these companies to purchase 300 million doses of vaccine. So can we expect the pandemic to end soon?

Pfizer and BioNTech agreement with EC

According to many specialists, the vaccine on COVID-19 is the only way out of the pandemic permanently. That is why it is so important to ensure availability of an effective preparation by central authorities for all countries. The European Commission (EC) has therefore already signed a fourth agreement on this matter. This time it is about the preparation of Pfizer and BioNTech, about which we wrote in early July here. The companies informed on Monday about the promising results of the third phase of the substance. Earlier similar agreements were signed by the EC with AstraZeneca, Sanofi-GSK and Johnson & Johnson.

The results of the first phase 3 interim efficacy study of Pfizer and BioNTech published on Monday showed that seven days after the second dose, it is more than 90% effective. This means that patients achieve immunity to COVID-19 28 days after the first dose. There are no data yet on the persistence of the immunity acquired through vaccination. It is worth noting, however, that the vaccine is based on chemical synthesis of mRNA. We are not dealing here with the whole virus, but only its fragment. Therefore, if its effectiveness and safety is confirmed, it will probably be possible to produce it on a mass scale at a very fast pace despite quite an advanced technological process, said Dr. Paweł Grzesiowski quoted by gazeta.pl. The vaccine does not require cell cultures, which are associated with great limitations as far as the speed of the process is concerned. In order for the preparation to reach the market, the third phase clinical trials must be completed, and then the companies must obtain appropriate permits. However, Pfizer and BioNTech are planning to ask for emergency approval.

1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021. There is one problem, however…

Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Monday that they will be able to deliver 50 million doses of the produced vaccine later this year. In 2021, this is expected to be about 1.3 billion doses. However, the preparation must be stored at a very low temperature, i.e. below 80 degrees Celsius at the entire distribution stage. Such requirements may be a significant problem in the supply of the vaccine. In Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki informed in fact already on Monday that the best possible scheme of action will be worked out for this purpose, including the logistic issue concerning the distribution of the preparation.

The vaccine for COVID-19 is to be available in our country for willing seniors and medical and uniformed services. This means 20 million doses. However, it is not known when exactly it can be expected that the preparation will actually be available on the market and when Poland will receive the first doses of the vaccine. As we wrote here earlier, only some Poles declare that they will be vaccinated with COVID-19.

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