There has been much more than enough news around the race to develop an effective COVID-19 vaccine this year to make your head spin.
We’ve all seen the names. Pfizer (PFE), BioNTech (BNTX), Moderna (MRNA), AstraZeneca (AZN), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and a host of others… they’ve all been claiming trial results showing 90%, 94%, 95% efficacy rates. We’ve heard about one-dose and two-dose versions… versions that need to be stored in -70 degree Celcius super fridges… one vaccine earning emergency use authorization before the others… hell, now Russian health officials are even telling their citizens to abstain from alcohol for 80 days if you’re getting the vaccine. But, is there really a difference between what these drugmakers are putting out?
Well, one medical journal is helping us all cut through the crap, to explain why one vaccine stands alone.
This week, Dr. Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet medical journal said AstraZeneca’s vaccine, nicknamed the Oxford-vaccine, has a “distinct comparative advantage” over other leading candidates:
“The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is the vaccine right now that is going to be able to immunize the planet more effectively, more rapidly than any other vaccine we have.”
Horton continues the argument that AstraZeneca can more effectively aid vaccine immunization on a global scale, because of logistics and costs that can help the vaccine “get to lower-middle-income countries.”
He adds that it’s “not practicable” to launch a global vaccination campaign with storage needs of minus 70 degrees Celsius, referring to the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine. As far as costs go, Pfizer-BioNTech is reportedly charging around $20 per dose for its coronavirus vaccine, while Moderna says it plans to charge $32 to $37 per dose, and Johnson & Johnson says its vaccine will cost around $10 per dose.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Horton argues can be stored at regular refrigerator temperature and is significantly cheaper than its counterparts, as it’s believed the vaccine will cost around $4 per dose. That sounds like a pretty distinct advantage, alright.