Who will prevail and victory over Covid-19 …the American-German or Russian Corona vaccine?

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After the American pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, and its partner, the German biotechnology company BioNTech, announced in a statement Monday that their experimental corona vaccine to prevent Covid-19 disease is more than 90% effective, a representative of the Russian Ministry of Health said that The Russian “Sputnik V” vaccine against Covid-19 is more than 90% effective, so which of the two vaccines will prevail and take precedence in ridding humanity of the emerging coronavirus?

“We are responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of the vaccine (Sputnik V) among citizens who received doses of it as part of the group vaccination program,” Oksana Drapkina, a professor in National Research Center for Preventive Medicine of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation, said in a statement.

“Its effectiveness is more than 90% based on our observations, and as for the emergence of another effective vaccine … this is good news for everyone,” she added.

In this report, we will review the details of the two vaccines: the American, the German, and the Russian, as well as concerns and questions about them:

The American-German Corona Virus Vaccine

Name: “BNT162b2”
Who developed it?
US drugmaker Pfizer and its partner, the German biotech company, BioNtech. The third and final phase of clinical trials on the new vaccine began at the end of July, with the participation of 43,538 people so far, and the two companies intend to provide data on the complete third phase trials for scientists to review.

How does it work?
The BNT162B2 vaccine is based on mRNA, a new approach to protecting against infection with the virus.

Unlike conventional vaccines, which train the body to recognize and kill the proteins that produce pathogenic factors, “MRNA” fools the patient’s immune system into making him produce virus proteins by himself, and these proteins are harmless. Still, it is sufficient to provide a strong immune response.

Is it safe?
The two companies said they have not yet found serious safety concerns, and this month they expected US permission to use the vaccine in emergencies.

According to a statement from Pfizer, no serious safety concerns were noted.

The statement added that the study indicates that the vaccine’s effectiveness rate is higher than 90%, 7 days after the second dose. This means that protection is achieved 28 days after the start of vaccination, consisting of a two-dose schedule.

The company added that “based on current expectations, we expect to produce up to 50 million vaccine doses globally in 2020, and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.”

How long does a vaccine protect?
Ugur Shaheen, CEO of BioNtech, told Reuters that he is optimistic that the vaccination effect will last for a year, although this is not yet confirmed.

Pfizer and BioNtech said that the third phase of the clinical trials’ initial results showed protection for patients 7 days after the second dose of the vaccine and 28 days after the first dose.

Strong data
“The efficacy data is really impressive,” said William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee. “It’s better than most of us expected … the study is not complete yet, but the data appears very strong.”

Peter Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases at the University of Oxford, said the Pfizer announcement “marks a turning point” in the pandemic.

What are the concerns?
Some scientists welcomed the BNT162B2 vaccine with caution, and Michael Head, a senior public health researcher at the University of Southampton in England, said, “It is an excellent result of a first-generation vaccine.”

But some others expected major logistical problems in delivering the vaccine to everyone, especially as it should be kept very cold, and it would need two doses to support immunity.

For his part, Ian Hamilton – an assistant professor of addiction at the University of York – wrote in The Independent about the Pfizer vaccine and some questions and difficulties. For example, the vaccine must be given in two doses, so 30 million doses will suffice 15 million people.

Also, there will be difficult decisions about who will take priority and who will be excluded. Although it may seem obvious that some groups are prioritized, such as NHS frontline personnel and individuals at risk; However, there are no guarantees at this stage.

He adds that Pfizer says that the data for the third phase of the trial show that the vaccine is 90% effective; although this is impressive; However, it still means that 1 in 10 will not be protected, and the problem is we do not know if Pfizer can predict who will not respond to the drug.

Also, the practical logistics of supplying and distributing this vaccine seem difficult, as you can imagine, as the drug must be stored at a minus 80 degrees Celsius temperature. This will also pose a challenge to manufacture this vaccine on a large scale.

Hamilton also said that this vaccine is given in two doses 3 weeks apart. Compliance with this will also be difficult, as people forget follow-up appointments or misunderstand the need for a second dose.

Hamilton also cautioned, “We don’t know for how long this vaccine provides immunity.” The study was based on the formation of immunity in 28 days, and it is clear that if the immunity is limited to that period of time, then the vaccine will have limited benefit.

Russian Coronavirus Vaccine

The name: “Sputnik V“.

Who developed it?
The vaccine was developed by the Gamalia National Center for Research in Epidemiology and Microbiology in Russia, and the center was established as a private laboratory in 1891. As of 1949, it bears the name of Nikolai Gamalia, the pioneer of Russian microbiology research.

The vaccine obtained a registration certificate from the Russian Ministry of Health on August 11. It can be used to vaccinate the population in Russia under the rules approved during the pandemic period. It is planned to increase vaccine production in Russia and around the world.

How does it work?
Sputnik V is the world’s first registered vaccine based on a well-studied human adenoviruses platform that works on adenovirus vectors.

The “vectors” are pregnant women who can deliver the genetic material from another virus to the cell. The genetic material for the adenovirus that causes the infection is removed, while a gene carrying a code for a protein from another virus enters the current state of the Coronavirus, and this new element is safe for the body. Still, it helps the immune system respond and produce the antibodies that protect the body from infection.

The technological platform for vectors based on adenoviruses facilitates and accelerates the creation of new vaccines by modifying the original carrier-carrier with genetic material from the new viruses that appear, which allows obtaining new vaccines within short periods of time. These vaccines cause a strong response on the part of the human immune system.

According to the Sputnik Vaccine website, human adenoviruses are among the easiest and simplest to modify, and therefore their spread as vectors has expanded.

Is it safe?
According to the official vaccine website, before the commencement of clinical tests, the vaccine completely passed all pre-clinical stages in efficacy and safety. This included experiments on various types of laboratory animals, including two primates.

The first and second phases of clinical testing were concluded on August 1, 2020, and all volunteers passed the tests well, and no unexpected, dangerous, or unwanted phenomena were recorded.

Post-registration studies for the Sputnik vaccine were launched with more than 40,000 people in Russia and Belarus on August 25, 2020. Several countries will also join the studies.

How long does a vaccine protect?
According to previous statements by the Russian Ministry of Health, the double vaccination “will allow the formation of a prolonged immunity that may last” two years “.

What are the concerns?
According to a report published in the medical journal “The Lancet“, the design of the Sputnik vaccine’s first human trial has sparked criticism. The report quoted Shanna Cruikshank, an immunologist at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, that the study results on the “Sputnik V” vaccine overestimated Treatment effects.

On the other hand, and despite his lack of knowledge of quality control or the details of quality assurance for Sputnik, vaccinologist Peter Hotz of Baylor College of Medicine, Texas, USA sees remarkable advantages in the Russian vaccine, as Sputnik’s freeze-dried formula is very similar to the smallpox vaccine that Developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s, this allows the vaccine to be transported to remote locations.

The vaccine’s tolerability is also comparable to other adenovirus vaccines, although the total levels of equivalent antibody to the virus are not high even with the two doses; However, they are similar to some other “adenovirus vectored vaccines”.

In conclusion, the coming days will reveal to us who will lead in defeating the emerging coronavirus and ridding humanity of this fearful epidemic.

Source: Al-Jazeera and agencies

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