We need continued COVID-19 vaccine research – let’s discuss why! I’m Dr. Jeff Kingsley and welcome to another edition of Riding in Cars with Researchers. Pfizer and BioNTech have just gotten a FDA EUA (Emergency Use Authorization). They also got EUA in England, and I believe in Canada at this point in time. We’re expecting Moderna to get its’ EUA shortly, and there will be more to come.
What I don’t want to see is people thinking that that’s it, that’s the end, that there’s no more need to enroll in COVID-19 vaccine research trials. Now, why would I argue that there is still a need? One reason is safety and efficacy of the existing vaccines. So we’ve heard that Pfizer’s vaccine is 95% effective in nearly every age group and ethnicity. I was just reading in the Journal this morning that they’re questioning if there was enough Asian representation to really be able to say that for Pfizer’s vaccine. But what we don’t know is also how long you’re going to maintain immunity. So it’s always possible that Moderna’s vaccine ends up being better in Asian populations than Pfizer’s, or that it’s better in the younger age groups than Pfizer. And I’m not saying that either of those things are true, but could be. It’s also possible that one of these vaccines creates a longer-lasting immunity than another vaccine.
So for all of those reasons, we need to continue to do COVID-19 vaccine work. Another reason we need to continue to do COVID-19 vaccine work is we will have a supply and demand issue globally. We have more people than we can manufacture vaccines. There are billions and billions of people. We can’t manufacture enough vaccines fast enough to be able to dose the world. And then how long is the vaccine going to create immunity? At what point will people need to be revaccinated?
The more vaccines that get EUA’s, the more you’ve improved the supply side of that equation. The demand side is the global population. The supply side is how fast you can manufacture Pfizer’s drug, for example. But if Moderna gets EUA, you just doubled the manufacturing capabilities. There are now two candidates that are being manufactured at different facilities simultaneously dramatically increasing the amount of supply. AstraZeneca’s gets EUA again, you’ve dramatically increased the supply and on and on it goes. And so for all of those reasons, I really want to encourage people. Don’t assume that this ship has sailed. We still need to dramatically support COVID-19 vaccine research. My thoughts for the morning, I’m on my way into the office right now to open up another COVID vaccine trial!
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