What are the Coronavirus Vaccines?
We’ve seen during 2020 nearly 60 Coronavirus Vaccines developed against severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) with many in clinical trials with some vaccines reportedly having more than 90% efficacy against COVID-19 in clinical trials. A handful of vaccines are already in Phase 3 and Phase 4 trials with some given emergency approvals by various governments.
Currently, the most well-known global Coronavirus Vaccines for COVID-19 include:
The Oxford University-AstraZeneca Vaccine
The Oxford University-AstraZeneca Vaccine is a joint venture with Oxford University and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and is codenamed AZD1222 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19.
It’s been developed from a weakened version of a common cold virus (known as an adenovirus) and has been modified to look more like Coronavirus – although it can’t cause illness. When the vaccine is injected into a patient, it prompts the immune system to begin making antibodies and primes it to attack any coronavirus infection.
This vaccine is going to be a common one in Europe (UK has bought 100M does) and Australia. It offers a 70% effective rate, which may seem like a downfall. However, it does not need to be stored at extremely low temperatures and can be stored in a normal fridge, making it much easier to distribute. The vaccine is administered in two doses with the second being administered approx 4 to 12 weeks after their first dose. As of writing, no-one who received the Oxford Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine was hospitalized or became seriously ill due to Covid.
The Moderna Vaccine
The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, codenamed mRNA-1273, is a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna. The Moderna vaccine is a new type of vaccine called an RNA vaccine. It is reported to protect approximately 94.5% of people from COVID-19. The vaccine is administered in two 0.5 mL doses given by intramuscular injection and given four weeks apart.
Pfizer / BioNtech vaccine
The Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine codenamed BNT162b is based on BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA technology and supported by Pfizer’s global vaccine development and manufacturing capabilities and is almost identical to the Moderna vaccine, and any differences between the two are negligible in terms of safety and effectiveness. The only real difference is that Moderna’s vaccine offers a slightly higher dose. The Pfizer vaccine is administered in two doses and approximately three weeks or twenty-one days apart.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine
Johnson & Johnson is testing a coronavirus vaccine known as JNJ-8436735 or Ad26.COV2.S.
The vaccine added the gene for the coronavirus spike protein to another virus called Adenovirus 26. Adenoviruses are common viruses that typically cause colds or flu-like symptoms. The Johnson & Johnson team used a modified adenovirus that can enter cells but can’t replicate inside them or cause illness. The vaccine comes out of decades of research on adenovirus-based vaccines. In July 2020, the first one was approved for general use — a vaccine for Ebola and they are running clinical trials on adenovirus-based vaccines for other diseases, including H.I.V. and Zika.
Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine has not yet been approved for use (as of writing) However, the prospects of this vaccine are quite exciting. It would only require a single dose, rather than two spaced out doses.
The Novavax vaccine, NVX-CoV2373, contains purified pieces of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. These proteins are administered with an adjuvant, a molecule that enhances the immune response. The idea is that when this vaccine is administered, the body recognizes its contents as “foreign” and mounts a protective immune response. Novavax’s Vaccine relies on a different mechanism to generate immunity compared to other vaccines.