Another American pharmaceutical company, Moderna announced successful coronavirus vaccine tests with particularly high, about 94.5 % efficiency. There are now three vaccines on the word that their producers claim to be efficient: the vaccine of Pfizer-BioNtech, of Moderna and the Russian Szputnyik V. Plus the European Union also started negotiations on CureVac’s vaccine – so four different vaccines could be available in Hungary.

In the second half of December or beginning of January, four vaccines could arrive in Hungary at the same time. Learning from the experience of the first wave, the Hungarian government does not want to depend only on one supplier but wants to have more options for Hungary – since the purchasing of protective equipment and ventilators showed that the EU’s solutions are not always the best and fastest. Here are the similarities and differences between the four vaccines, compared by Origo.

According to the World Health Organisation, there are more than a hundred vaccines in the world that’s development is in the clinical phase. For Hungary, the most important are Pfizer and Szputnyik V, because these could arrive first. But experts also have high hopes about the American Moderna, the German CureVac and the Brit AstraZeneca vaccines.

The most important similarities and differences between the vaccines

Based on the results of the clinical tests, Moderna showed the best efficiency rate so far. The American company is already in a late phase in clinical testing, and according to their report, their vaccine provokes immune responses in 94.5 %. Moreover, they will most likely be authorised by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before the end of the year. Pfizer published their results a week ago – their vaccine was proven to be 90 % efficient during clinical testing. Szputnyik V proved 92 % efficiency. AstraZeneca will announce their results before December.

The EU has concluded an arrangement with Pfizer on ordering 300 million doses of vaccines and member states can then decide how much they need. Still, there is also an arrangement with AstraZeneca and CureVac. However, since this will not be enough for all the countries, it is important for the Hungarian government to negotiate with other partners, too.

According to Katalin KarikĂł – who contributed to the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines – Pfizer vaccines’ mRNS codes the virus’ spike protein, so the vaccinated person first produces the protein from the mRNS himself and then the body is able to react to danger on its own, and produces not only the virus protein but also the antibodies. Since a group of immune cells survives as remembering cells, the immunity will be lasting – she explained to Ripost.

The science behind it

RNS stands for ribonucleic acid from which ribose is the sugar. On the other hand, DNS stands for deoxyribonucleic acid and accordingly, deoxyribose is part of the sugar in the nucleotides that build it up. In DNS as well as in RNS, nucleotides only differ in their bases. In biochemistry, the process where an RNS-copy is made of a specific part of the DNS is called transcription. The produced RNSs could be classified to different groups, including mRNSs (messenger RNSs) that’s nucleotide sequence serves as a base for producing proteins’ amino acid sequences.

Szputnyik V, on the other hand, is developed with a different approach; The Russian Gamaleya Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology – which also created the Ebola vaccine – put the gene responsible for producing spike protein to a virus carrier and then into the body. Consequently, a special protein that provokes immune response is produced. Their method is long used, effective, and safe.

Advantages of the Russian vaccine

As opposed to the Pfizer vaccine, it does not require special refrigerating; it is enough to store it between minus 12-18 degrees Celsius, while the German-American development needs to be held between minus 70-80 degrees Celsius (due to the extremely vulnerable mRNS).

The Russian vaccine could be produced in Hungary, too, which would make logistics a lot easier. Hungarian Foreign Minister PĂ©ter SzijjĂĄrtĂł previously talked about the ongoing negotiations with Russia about the license for Szputnyik V. According to SzijjĂĄrtĂł, the first supplies would arrive in December, and then a bigger dose in January.

Are these vaccines safe?

From the Szputnyik V and Pfizer vaccines, one will need two vaccinations, three weeks apart. Based on the clinical tests, both options are completely safe – similarly to flu vaccinations, they only have mild and rare side effects, the most common being pain in the area of the injection.

Maria Bartiromo, CEO of Moderna also confirmed, saying it is an entirely ordinary vaccination with the usual process: the doctor sanitises the arm of the patient, injects the vaccine, and places a cotton pad on it. Bartiromo also highlighted when informing Fox News that there is no significant difference in terms of mechanisms of action and structure between Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Still, she believes Moderna is more user-friendly – meaning that it does not require special storage and could be kept in a regular freezer up until six months.

Regarding CureVac, their vaccine could be stored in a regular fridge at 5 degrees Celsius up until three months, and for a day at room temperature. CVnCoV as they call it is similar to Pfizer in terms of its mechanisms of action, but it does not require special storage and transfer procedures which is a huge advantage.

Source: Origo, Fox News, Ripost

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