The race for vaccines: Which pharmaceutical will bring relief?

The race for vaccines: Which pharmaceutical will bring relief?
Image Credit: The Conversation
The Coronavirus marked its first anniversary a few weeks back and reminded the world that we've been living with this bone-crippling pandemic with almost eerie normalcy. The seemingly unbeatable virus has infected more than 60 million of the world’s population, taking its death ally to 1.43 million worldwide. 
 
Countries have been struggling to create the first known and working vaccine against it and currently, more than 10 vaccines are in the race to becoming the one that will save the world. Companies like AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Pfizer are in the lead with its vaccine candidates more than 90% effective, after passing through various trials.
 
Pfizer, an American based pharmaceutical company, claimed that the vaccine developed by them in partnership with BioNTech a German pharmaceutical company is 95% effective to SARS-CoV-2 which is the virus responsible for COVID-19. Phase 3 trials of the company for BNT162b2 vaccine was started in the month of July with more than 30000 participants, following which most of the participants received the second dose of the vaccine by November.
The Data Monitoring Committee (DMC), after examining stated in their report that they found no such risks and serious concerns further they recommend the study of the vaccine to be boosted and look forward and develop the vaccine as planned.
AstraZeneca, the UK based Pharma company on November 23, 2020, examined its clinical trials of AZD1222 in the UK and Brazil which showed that the vaccine was highly effective, with more than 100 participants showing no sign of side-effects. The legitimacy and effectiveness of the vaccine were evaluated by an independent Data Safety Monitoring Board, in which the reports suggested 14 days after taking 2 doses of AZD1222 no serious safety issues have been seen while making it 90% effective.
 
Moderna, a US-based company on November 16, 2020, announced that their vaccine reduces the risk of coronavirus by 94.5%. The trials of the vaccine were done with 30,000 participants out of which 95 were the infected and in which only 5 of the patients developed the virus after the vaccination.
 
Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority granted $ 1 billion as a support to develop the vaccine. But, the point here not to forget is that the effectiveness of the vaccine can change at any time as it is not 100% effective. 
 
Meanwhile, with several countries looking to approve vaccines by the end of 2020, the challenge remains on the transportation and storage of the delicate vaccine doses.
Vaccines are required to be kept in strict temperature ranges that usually vary from -90°C to 8°C, requiring a completely separate setup and not a standard refrigerator.  For instance, Moderna, and Pfizer vaccines are formulated to be kept under -70°C. If the vaccines are not kept under the suitable temperature then the effectiveness of the vaccines are likely to be affected.
 
In the case of India, according to the governmental date, India has 27,000 cold chain points which are likely to store vaccine at a temperature of -70°C. However, it can take more time than expected to reach every people of the country, it is of great challenge for India has second corona infections worldwide.
 
Prime Minister addressing the nation on Thursday said, “Safety is as important as speed for us, whichever vaccine India will give to its citizens will be safe on all scientific standards. Vaccine distribution strategy will be chalked out in collective coordination with states. States must also start working on cold storage facilities.”