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What’s latest on Covid vaccines? Here’s what you need to know from labs of Pfizer, J&J, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca

Covid vaccine update: India has been administering two such – Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, and Serum Institute of India’s Oxford-AstraZeneca version Covishield. (Reuters image)

Covid Vaccine Update: The Covid-19 ravaged world has found solace in form of multiple vaccines against highly contagious Coronavirus. India has been administering two such – Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, and Serum Institute of India’s Oxford-AstraZeneca version Covishield. Other Covid vaccines by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are also making headlines for positive reasons.

However, developing a vaccine against the Coronavirus seems to be not enough as researchers are continuously trying to improve the quality and the products are under relentless scrutiny.

The US-based Moderna has been working on an additional booster that targets the South Africa variant and has shipped the vaccine for clinical testing to the US National Institutes of Health, the company said on a post-earnings conference call. The company is also planning to test a next-generation shot that could potentially be stored in refrigerators instead of freezers, making it easier to distribute, especially in developing countries, as per Reuters report.

In major good news, the first big real-world study of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has shown the shot is highly effective at preventing COVID-19. Till now, most data on the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines have come under controlled conditions in clinical trials, leaving an element of uncertainty over how results would translate into the real world with its unpredictable variables.

The research in Israel – two months into one of the world’s fastest rollouts, providing a rich source of data – showed two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses cut symptomatic COVID-19 cases by 94 per cent across all age groups, and severe illnesses by nearly as much. The results of the study for the Clalit Research Institute were close to those in clinical trials last year which found two doses were found to be 95 per cent effective, the Reuters report.

The American regulator the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found the Johnson and Johnson’s Coronavirus vaccine is “safe and effective”. The Johnson and Johnson is a single shot. The Johnson and Johnson Covid vaccine has been termed as cost-effective in comparison with those of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The Johnson and Johnson Covid vaccine can be stored in a refrigerator and does not require a freezer. However, during the trial, the Johnson and Johnson Covid vaccine was found to be 66 per cent effective.

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