The Conversation: Moderna’s COVID vaccine reports 95% efficacy

The American biotech company Moderna has released early data from phase III clinical trials, announcing that its COVID-19 vaccine has an efficacy level of 94.5%.

Like Pfizer's vaccine, the Moderna vaccine is also an mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccine, however will be easier to distribute as its temperature requirements are 4℃ for 30 days (rather than -70℃ as in the case of the Pfizer vaccine); and for storage requirements beyond 30 days it needs to be kept at -20℃.

The stage III trial involved 30,000 participants, out of those 95 people developed COVID-19 in the week after the final vaccination, with 90 of those being in the placebo group and only 5 in the group who received the COVID vaccine.

It is unknown how long protection from this vaccine lasts and how effective it is in the elderly, pregnant women or those with a chronic illness; however, in results Moderna published in September the vaccine produced a similar amount of antibodies in adults over 70 as adults under 70 years of age. It did however induce fewer T cells in people aged over 71, so at this stage it is not know whether this will result in lower protection or shorter lasting immunity in the elderly.

Read more via the link below:

The World Health Organization: How do vaccines work?

The World Health Organization have developed a new resource explaining how vaccines provide immunity.

To view the resource please follow the link below:

The World Health Organization: How do vaccines work?

 


The New York Times: The Husband-and-Wife Team Behind the Leading Vaccine to Solve Covid-19

BioNTech, a German-based biotechnology company with a focus on developing cancer therapies, previously predicted that messenger-RNA technology could be used to rapidly develop a vaccine in the event of a pandemic.

The company, founded by Dr Ugur Sahin and Dr Ozlem Tureci, in partnership with Pfizer, announced this week that their COVID-19 vaccine candidate is more than 90% effective.

To read more, please follow the link below:

The New York Times: The Husband-and-Wife Team Behind the Leading Vaccine to Solve Covid-19


BBC: Covid vaccine - First 'milestone' vaccine offers 90% protection

Vaccine developers Pfizer and BioNTech have announced preliminary data shows their COVID-19 vaccine is demonstrating 90% effectiveness. The vaccine has been tested on over 43,000 people in six countries (USA, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and Turkey). They are planning to apply for emergency approval so the vaccine can be in use by the end of November.

Requiring two doses three weeks apart, the vaccine has been developed using an mRNA platform. Scientists take part of the virus’s genetic code and coat it in a lipid so that it can enter the body’s cells resulting in the production of the coronavirus spike protein, prompting the immune system to produce antibodies and T-cells to kill the infected cells. If the person who has been immunised encounters the virus, the antibodies and T-cells are then activated to fight the virus.

It is not known how effective the vaccine will be in elderly people as yet or how long immunity will last. This vaccine is not without manufacturing and logistical challenges, as mRNA vaccines need to be stored at minus 80 degrees Celsius. To date, no major safety issues have been identified.

Read more about this via the link below:

BBC: Covid vaccine: First 'milestone' vaccine offers 90% protection 

 


BBC: Coronavirus - Scientists using TikTok to teach about vaccine

Scientists will use social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram and Twitter to communicate information about COVID-19 vaccines in development. They will share science in a simple way as well as answer questions in an effort to reclaim the trust of the public which has been undermined by the rampant spread of misinformation.

This is part of new campaign, Team Halo, which has the backing of the United Nations’ Verified Initiative, the Vaccine Confidence Project and GAVI, The Vaccine Alliance.

To read more follow the link below:

Coronavirus: Scientists using TikTok to teach about vaccine 

 


The bmj: Midwives and paramedics can deliver flu and covid vaccines after new laws come into force

New laws, introduced by the UK government, will now see midwives and paramedics able to administer influenza and COVID-19 vaccines (once available). Expanding the workforce responsible for administering vaccines will improve the public's access to vaccination. These healthcare workers will undergo additional training to ensure patient safety is maintained. 

Currently doctors, accredited nurse immunisers, nurse practitioners and pharmacist immunisers can administer vaccines in Victoria. 

To read more follow the link below:

The bmj: Midwives and paramedics can deliver flu and covid vaccines after new laws come into force


Pulse: Flu and Covid-19 vaccines will need to be given separately, says deputy CMO

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, and medical adviser on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has revealed that he is cautiously optimistic that some COVID-19 vaccines will be available before Christmas. He has also warned that it is unlikely that any COVID-19 vaccine could be co-administered with influenza vaccines due to a lack of safety data. 

Read the article in full below:

Pulse: Flu and Covid-19 vaccines will need to be given separately, says deputy CMO

 


COVID-19 vaccines: time to talk about the uncertainties

In the following article, Kanta Subbarao, director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in Melbourne, discusses the unknowns that lie ahead as we plan for the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine. Community engagement and transparency will be key to a successful vaccination campaign. Professor Subbarao touches on public involvement and the idea of "citizen juries" to participate in discussions on the risks and benefits of COVID-19 vaccines and who should receive the vaccine first.

To read the article in full please follow the link below:

Nature: COVID-19 vaccines: time to talk about the uncertainties

Professor Subbarao was recently a guest on our COVID19: Road to a vaccine podcast series. To listen to her episode please refer to the following link:

COVID19: Road to a vaccine


Advance purchase agreements: what does that mean?

The Australian Government has made a number of advance purchase agreements in order to ensure that Australians have access to COVID-19 vaccines once they are proven to be safe and effective.

The following document from the European Commission, outlines what an advance purchase agreement entails and the negotiation process behind it:

Questions and Answers: Coronavirus and the EU Vaccines Strategy