What's the Latest on COVID-19 Vaccines and Will You Have a Jab?

Peter Russell

November 18, 2020

Editor's note, 25 November 2020: The reader poll has now closed. The results are published here.

Would you be prepared to receive a vaccination against COVID-19 from these top contenders?

Pfizer-BioNTech

Interim results on 9 November for its messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine candidate, BNT162b2, reported an efficacy rate above 90% at 28 days after the first of two doses.

Pfizer said it would be able to produce up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020, and up to 1.3 billion next year.

The UK has agreed to buy 40 million doses, the first batch of which could be delivered before the end of this year.

The vaccine poses logistical and supply chain problems as it requires cold chain refrigeration at -70C.

Moderna

On 16 Nov, Moderna announced that its mRNA-1273 vaccine achieved 94.5% efficacy in interim results from phase 3 trials.

The success rate did not surprise experts since it was based on similar technology to the vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech.

Shortly after results were published, the Government announced it had secured 5 million doses, for around 2.5 million people.

Delivery would be from spring 2021 subject to approval by the medicines' regulator.

The Moderna vaccine is stable for up to 6 months at -20C.

University of Oxford-AstraZeneca

Using a different approach, Oxford's version is a chimpanzee adenovirus-vectored vaccine.

Interim results of phase 3 trials are expected in the coming weeks.

A study published in The Lancet in July showed that phase I/II trials of a single dose of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 produced neutralising antibodies in more than 90% of participants. The vaccine also produced a T-cell response.

The UK Government has agreed delivery of 100 million doses.

Subject to regulatory approval, the Oxford vaccine could be available before the end of 2020.

The Oxford vaccine would be easier to administer as it can be stored at between 2C and 8C.

Janssen

Phase 3 clinical trials of Janssen's vaccine began in the UK this week.

Like the Oxford candidate, Janssen's Ad26.COV2.S is an adenoviral vaccine.

The UK has agreed to buy 30 million doses of the Janssen vaccine.

It can be stored at normal refrigeration temperatures of 2C to 8C for at least 3 months. It can remain stable for 2 years when stored at -20C.

Novavax

Novavax expects to fully enrol phase 3 clinical trials of its NVX-CoV2373 candidate in the UK by the end of November. Trials in the US and Mexico will start by the end of the month.

The vaccine was created using recombinant nanoparticle technology to generate antigen derived from the coronavirus spike combined with a proprietary adjuvant to enhance immune response.

Interim data from the UK trial is expected in the first quarter of 2021.

The Government has secured delivery of 60 million doses.

The vaccine is stable at normal refrigeration temperature of 2C to 8C.

GSK-Sanofi Pasteur

The candidate vaccine ucombines recombinant protein-based technology from Sanofi to produce an influenza vaccine and GSK’s pandemic adjuvant technology.

A phase 3 trial is expected by the end of 2020.

The UK Government has ordered 60 million doses.

Standard storage temperatures of between 2C and 8C are understood to be a requirement of the GSK-Sanofi candidate vaccine.

Valneva

Valneva's VLA2001 vaccine is a vero-cell based highly purified inactivated whole virus vaccine based on the manufacturing platform of its Japanese encephalitis vaccine.

The UK Government has an agreement to buy 60 million doses in the second half of 2021, with options of more than 40 million doses in 2022, and a further 30 million to 90 million doses during 2023 to 2025.

VLA2001 is expected to require standard refrigeration at 2C to 8C.

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