- Pfizer, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca where each of these COVID-19 Vaccine stand in their efficacy, storage and pricing.
The news surrounding the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine becoming a reality couldn’t have come at a better time. With Christmas knocking the doors, three pharmaceutical giants have given the world a ray of hope everybody was longing for. Pfizer in collaboration with BioNtech, Moderna Inc. & Oxford-AstraZeneca have all been in the thick of things ever since the world was marred by the deadly pandemic. The patience of innumerable scientists involved has paid-off quite clearly with each one of these pharmaceutical companies coming out with successful trials of their respective candidates to obliterate COVID-19.
This is what puts one prospective candidate ahead of its contemporaries. A vaccine’s effectiveness is defined through the percentage of efficacy it has shown during the third stage of clinical trials.
Vaccines are generally approved based on three stages of clinical trials. Short-term safety is usually judged during the first few stages. Phase 3 is the most elaborate and critical of all where the efficacy of the vaccine under trial is determined. This is where the sampling gets done most often on thousands of people, who then are monitored over several months. The performance of the vaccinated group is then compared with that of the unvaccinated group. Phase 3, understandably is the most decisive of all the stages as this is where a full-scale evaluation of efficacy and determination of the safety of the vaccine takes place.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has shown 95% efficacy while Moderna’s efficacy stands at 94.5%.
The Oxford trial on the other hand has an efficacy of 62%. However, when people were given half a dose followed by a full dose its efficacy has risen to almost 90%.
We aren’t talking of a specific geography, but the entire world that has crippled due to the disease. No matter how big the efficacy numbers look, it all boils down to how seamlessly can the vaccines be transferred, stored and ultimately be administered. The Moderna vaccine is much ahead of Pfizer but the one that seems standing atop the podium is the Oxford-AstraZeneca candidate. During shipment, Pfizer must be kept at around -70 degrees celsius to maintain optimal efficacy. Moderna vaccines can last up to 30 days in household fridges, at room temperature for up to 12 hours and can remain stable at -20 degree celsius. Oxford-AstraZeneca is the most favourable of all as it can be stored, transported as well as handled in standard refrigerated conditions and protected from light. This vaccine hence is a viable option in countries like India where regular supply chain can be used for its storage and transportation.
As far as the pricing is concerned, Pfizer is slated to be pegged at $20 a dose whereas a Moderna dose will cost around $25. The Oxford-AstraZeneca is the cheapest of all and will cost $2.50 per dose. It has pledged not to make any profits on the vaccine and which is why its cost happens to be the lowest amongst all. Pfizer on the other hand has confirmed that its vaccine will be made not for profit as long as the pandemic continues. On the contrary, Moderna’s vaccine being the most expensive of the lot is expected to fetch profits.