Monday, December 11, 2023

The COVID vaccines that work – and the others on the way

A number of COVID vaccines are used to reduce the chances of people getting sick, hospitalized, or dying.

Two other vaccines have recently shown to work in large clinical trials.

Why do we need a vaccine?

It is more than a year since the virus first began, yet the vast majority of people are still helpless.

The boundaries in our lives are the only things that keep the virus under control because they make it less likely for them to spread.

Vaccines teach our bodies to fight infection and are a “strategy” for getting out of a pandemic.

The big three COVID vaccines Pfizer / BioNtech, Moderna and Oxford / AstraZeneca

The three flagship COVID vaccines are those developed by Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford / AstraZeneca.

Pfizer and Moderna have also developed an RNA vaccine, a new approach that is developing very fast.

You inject a small portion of the virus’ genetic code into your body, which begins to produce a portion of the coronavirus and urges your body to put on protection.

They approved for use in the UK, Europe and the United States.

“The Oxford vaccine is slightly different in that it uses a harmless virus to carry the same genetic material into the body”. It approved in UK and Europe.

The simplest of these three options is that it can stored in the refrigerator instead of requiring a very low temperature.

All three should given as two doses, but the UK wants to give the first dose as much as possible and delay the second.

How the vaccines compare

Source: Respective companies, WHO

Jansen and Novavax COVID Vaccines

The results of large-scale trials with two new COVID vaccines have also recently presented.

The work of Janssen, which is owned by Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax is now being reviewed by regulators before their drugs are approved.

The Jansen vaccine uses the same technique as Oxford but is most importantly given as a single injection, not two. That, together with the fact that only one refrigerator is needed for storage and the billions of doses planned for this year, means it could have a significant impact worldwide.

“Novavax takes a different, old approach to vaccines proteins from viruses and chemicals used to prepare the immune system are injected into the body”.

What are other people in the world doing?

There is another vaccine to watch out for, although it is not used in Europe and the United States.

Vaccines against Sinovac, CanSino and Sinopharm developed by scientists in China and signed with other countries in Asia and South America. About one million people in China said to have received Sinopharm injections.

Read more: EU Leaders meet to go faster vaccine rollout in race against variants

The Sputnik V vaccine developed by the Russian research center Gamaleya is also effective in late-stage research, according to research published in The Lancet. Some people got the vaccination.

The vaccine, which works similarly to the Oxford / AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines, is also considered safe. And offers complete protection against hospitalization and death.

How many Vaccines are being tested?

Note: Some vaccines are being tested in different phases simultaneously, but we have only counted them once. Some phase 3 vaccines have been approved for use by individual countries, The WHO has approved one for use so far. Source: WHO, 26 Jan 2021

Are they all Equally Effective?

It is difficult to compare the results from one company to another. Because their trials conducted in slightly different ways and at different points of the pandemic.

However, “all major vaccines appear to have a big impact on your chances of being hospitalized or dying of Covid”.

However, one of the most important questions – does it prevent you from spreading the virus – is unknown.

Understanding which methods tested most successfully in challenge experiments, in which people deliberately infected with the virus.

What about the variants?

New versions of the coronavirus are rising in countries around the world.

However, there are warning labels from Jansen and Novavax that contain the first “real” data on the new options.

Both show a decline in their overall effectiveness in South Africa, where new and worrying options are spreading.

The results are still good and definitely better than no vaccine, but they do show how big the coronavirus is a moving target.

“We may have to change the vaccines we use in the future”.

What still needs to be done?

Large manufacturers to produce billions of cans and distribute them worldwide

Do research to find out how long this protection lasts

Studies to demonstrate the effect of vaccines on viral spread

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