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Difference between Moderna and Pfizer Vaccine

Amidst increasing unemployment rates, tumbling economies, and with food and nutrition security of millions of people under threat, the recent development in the Covid-19 vaccine clinical trials comes as a ray of hope. It’s still early days, but the plans to begin large-scale production of promising vaccines and the continuous efforts of pharmaceutical companies around the world to develop a safe and effective vaccine against the Covid-19 brings glimmer of hope to the people around the world who have been waiting for months for a coronavirus vaccine.

Currently, the U.S. government is banking on a handful of Covid-19 candidates, with Moderna and Pfizer being two of the leading candidates in the vaccine race. However, even if one or more safe Covid-19 vaccines under development are approved for use and distribution, their immediate availability in sufficient quantity to vaccinate such large population is highly unlikely. The outcome of the vaccine trials is being closely monitored across the world.

Pfizer logo

On Nov. 8, Pfizer, the world’s largest producer of antibiotics, concluded the final efficacy analysis of its ongoing Phase 3 of Covid-19 vaccine clinical trials with very promising results. As it seems, Pfizer, along with its German partner, BioNTech are seeking approval from FDA for an emergency use authorization in the coming days. Earlier this month, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company Moderna Therapeutics had shown similar promising results in their late-stage vaccine trials as they plan to apply for approval to use the vaccine in the coming weeks.

Both the pharmaceutical companies are banking on their mRNA-based Covid-19 vaccine candidates which have indeed shown rapid progress. According to the WHO, nearly 180 vaccine candidates are being tested globally but none have completed successful clinical trials yet. The gene-based mRNA is a cutting-edge technology and one of the foremost vaccine technologies to be used to develop a Covid-19 vaccine. Considering both are mRNA vaccines, it’s hard to anticipate who’ll be the winner in this vaccine race at this stage. Besides, it takes time to accomplish something of this scale and only time will tell who will win the Covid-19 vaccine race. And this race is far from over.

Moderna says its COVID-19 vaccine is 94.5 percent effective | US & Canada |  Al Jazeera

Difference between Moderna and Pfizer Vaccine

Let’s take a look how the two vaccines compare in terms of safety, efficacy, and distribution.

  1. Efficacy

 – Both the pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Pfizer use the same mRNA-based vaccines which are very different from conventional vaccines. In fact, the mRNA vaccines take a novel approach that has never been used for human clinical trials and they have advantages compared to other vaccine types such as safety, efficacy and production. While both the vaccine candidates have shown at least a 90 percent efficacy rate, Modern’s preliminary results suggested a relatively higher efficacy rate at 94.5 percent, a startling number compared to what other vaccine candidates claimed.

  1. Dose

 – Both vaccine candidates use engineered RNA, a novel approach to vaccine development that involves injecting a patient with a part of the virus’s genetic code which then encodes the viral protein to invoke an immune response. It simply recognizes the disease-causing part of the virus by triggering an immune response, producing powerful antibodies to neutralize the real threat. Both the vaccines require two doses. Pfizer’s booster shots are placed three weeks apart meaning if the first shot is on day 1 then the next shot is on day 22. Moderna’s second dose is placed four weeks after the first shot, which is an additional week.

  1. Storage

 – Moderna claims a longer shelf life for its Covid-19 vaccine, suggesting that it can be stored at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius for up to a month and it remains stable at minus 20 degrees Celsius for up to six months. This makes the vaccine easy for distribution, especially to remote areas that do not have specialized freezers to store the vaccines. However, at the room temperature, the Pfizer vaccine can only be stored for up to five days and it needs to be kept at ultra-cold storage at about minus 70 degrees Celsius, which makes it difficult for mass distribution because rural hospitals do not have such expensive and specialized refrigeration units to store the Covid-19 vaccine.

Moderna vs. Pfizer Vaccine: Comparison Chart

Summary of Moderna vs. Pfizer Vaccine

Both the pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Pfizer use the cutting-edge messenger RNA technology to develop their Covid-19 vaccines and it’s the only technology to be officially approved by the FDA for human clinical trials. Both the vaccines have shown promising results based on their ongoing vaccine clinical trials, but there are a number of caveats concerning the efficacy of their vaccines, such as age, demographics, gender, race, etc. The recent developments on the Moderna’a vaccine front suggest that the company may be on the verge of accomplishing something that would be considered no less than a breakthrough in medical history. But the question is which one of them will ultimately win the Covid-19 vaccine race.

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  1. I have GBS that was caused my a mosquito bite from a zika bearing mosquito. Given that I am told that the zika virus caused my immune system to attack myelin sheaths surrounding motor nerves and further I was warned to not take flu shots, is the current mRNA vaccine safe for me?

    Thank you,

    Michael Rouswell

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References :

[0]Gallagher, James. “Moderna: Covid Vaccine Shows Nearly 95% Protection.” BBC News, BBC, 16 Nov. 2020, www.bbc.com/news/health-54902908. Accessed 22 Nov. 2020

[1]“Pfizer vs. Moderna: Comparing 2 of the Top COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates.” Toronto.com, 20 Nov. 2020, www.toronto.com/news-story/10270881-pfizer-vs-moderna-comparing-2-of-the-top-covid-19-vaccine-candidates/. Accessed 22 Nov. 2020

[2]Foley, Katherine Ellen. “The Metric That Will Determine the Real Winner of the Covid-19 Vaccine Race.” Quartz, Quartz Media Inc., https://qz.com/1935017/moderna-vs-pfizer-who-will-win-the-covid-19-vaccine-race/. Accessed 22 Nov. 2020

[3]Richards, Sarah Elizabeth. “Why Moderna May Have an Edge in the Vaccine Race: Refrigeration.” National Geographic, National Geographic Partner, LLC., 20 Nov. 2020, www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/11/moderna-edges-pfizer-coronavirus-efficacy-and-refrigeration/. Accessed 22 Nov. 2020

[4]Akpan, Nsikan. “Moderna's MRNA Vaccine Reaches Its Final Phase. Here's How It Works.” National Geographic, National Geographic Partner, LLC., 28 July 2020, www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/05/moderna-coronavirus-vaccine-how-it-works-cvd/. Accessed 22 Nov. 2020

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