We have news on coronavirus vaccines

We have news on coronavirus vaccines

From first administrations outside clinical trials in the UK, to pending approval for emergency use in Europe and the US. Here's what's happening in the Covid vaccine landscape, between Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna

(photo: Getty Images) Her name is Margaret Keenan and she is the first person in the world to have received the coronavirus vaccine outside of clinical trials. Yesterday, in fact, the United Kingdom started the administration of the first doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, with priority for the categories at risk, the elderly and healthcare personnel. According to government forecasts, as many as 4 million people could receive vaccines by the end of this year, while Pfizer-BioNTech could soon receive authorization for emergency use in the United States and Europe as well.

According to what emerged from a document just released by the US Food and Drug Administration (Fda), in fact, the vaccine would begin to work, and therefore to provide protection against the coronavirus, already a few days after the first dose. To understand this, the experts carefully analyzed the data from the phase 3 clinical trial of the new vaccine, which involved about 44,000 people in the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Turkey. Half of the participants received the vaccine dose, while the other half a placebo (both groups were given a second dose after 21 days). About 10 days after the first dose, experts explain, there was a notable drop in new cases of Covid-19 in the vaccinated group, compared to that of placebo, thus indicating that even one dose provides some protection. In particular, the vaccine was shown to be 52% effective after the first dose and 95% after the second administration. In the new document, the experts also provide more details on side effects, including pain in muscles and joints, fatigue, headache and all of a short duration, thus demonstrating the absence of safety concerns that would prevent the release of the authorization for emergency use of the vaccine.

Meanwhile, the other coronavirus vaccine candidates are also making significant progress (to date, we recall, there are about 60 vaccine candidates in clinical and over 80 in the preclinical phase). For example, the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca became the first vaccine candidate manufacturers to publish the final trial data in a scientific journal, the Lancet, effectively eliminating the biggest obstacle in the drug production race. safe and effective against coronavirus. From the results, we recall, it emerged that on average their vaccine works in 70% of cases (62% or 90% depending on the dosage). And although lead partners Pfizer and Moderna reported efficacy of 95% and 94% respectively, AstraZeneca, the magazine points out, is the first manufacturer to publish vaccine data in a scientific paper. “This doesn't have to be a competition between developers, it has to be a competition against the virus,” said Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group who led the study.

Despite the skepticism of many experts, in these days the first administrations of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine have also begun which, we recall, has not yet completed clinical trials and therefore there is not yet sufficient evidence to be able to demonstrate its efficacy and safety. For now, the government said, the first doses will be administered only to the categories most at risk, including for example health personnel, teachers, social workers. For its developers, the BBC recalls, the vaccine is 95% effective and causes no major side effects. As for Moderna's vaccine, which has shown an efficacy of about 94% (and up to 100% in preventing severe forms), we are waiting for the authorization for emergency use by the FDA (if it will be accepted the first vaccinations could start from 21 December) and the European Medicines Agency (Ema). "The preliminary view of the data we received on December 1 is positive with regard to efficacy and safety," Emer Cooke, director of EMA, said to Repubblica, referring to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. “We still have to check the quality of the production chain and the ability of companies to prepare the remedy on a large scale. On these aspects our experts have asked for additional information, as well as we have asked for further details on safety ”. As Cooke predicts, the EMA could express itself on December 29 for Pfizer's vaccine and on January 12 for Moderna.

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