The Covid-19 vaccine race

Venaya Binwani

Theme: Healthcare Issues and Disease

After a year filled with bad news, it is extremely exciting, and a great relief to hear that scientists are making leaps of progress in developing the Covid-19 vaccine. Just this week, it was announced that the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, and their biotechnology partner BioNTech, have developed the first variant of the vaccine that is eligible for mass administration. The UK has already ordered over 40 million doses to be administered to their population, and the immunisation process may be underway as we speak. [1]

Before the vaccine was approved, it had to undergo a series of clinical trials. The final phase involved 42,000 volunteers, half of which were given a placebo vaccine. Based on the results, the vaccine appears to be 95% effective, with only 8 out of the 21,000 participants who received the actual dose, falling ill. Out of those in the control group, 162 caught the virus, indicating that only 5% of all cases in this clinical trial occurred despite vaccination. The World Health Organisation claims that the effectiveness of this vaccine is highly successful, exceeding its approval threshold of 50%. [1]

The other lead competitors in the coronavirus vaccine race are Oxford University and their manufacturing partner AstraZeneca, as well as the pharmaceutical company Moderna. [2] These two vaccines are still awaiting results from phase 3 of clinical testing before they can obtain approval from Food and Drug administrations as well as the World Health Organisation. The Oxford vaccine is said to be about 62% effective, compared to the other two vaccines which are about 90% successful. Although, further testing shows that the Oxford vaccine may