What you need to know about the corona vaccines

Dhe coronavirus continues to spread rapidly around the world. In Germany, too, the measures to contain the virus will most likely be extended again this week and in some cases even tightened. All the greater are the hopes that are now being placed in one of the possible vaccines that are to be approved in the coming weeks and months. FAZ.NET provides answers to the most important questions about the corona vaccines:

How many vaccines are there anyway?

The vaccine candidate of the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company Astra-Zeneca together with the University of Oxford is now the third Vaccine, for which the first efficacy data were presented. The Mainz-based company Biontech, together with Pfizer and the American company Moderna, had already presented initial data in the past two weeks. In total, the World Health Authority currently has a good 200 vaccine projects, of which almost 50 are in clinical development and around a dozen are in the third and final study phase.

How good are the vaccines really?

According to the now published interim analysis, the Astra-Zeneca vaccine shows an effectiveness of up to 90 percent for protection against Covid-19, if it was initially administered with half a dose, followed by a full dose at least one month apart. Another dosage regimen tested in the study showed 62 percent effectiveness when two full doses were vaccinated at least a month apart. The combined analysis of both dosage regimens showed an average effectiveness of 70 percent.

According to the first data, the vaccine is somewhat less promising than that of the competition. The partners Biontech and Pfizer even achieved a rate of 95 percent in their final analysis, while Moderna also achieved 94.5 percent in an interim analysis. The data were each evaluated by independent experts.

How are the vaccines different?

While the Vaccines from Biontech and Modern based on a new technology, Astra-Zeneca’s vaccine, which is being developed with Oxford University, is conventionally manufactured. This is a so-called vector vaccine, which is based on harmless viruses as a carrier. Researchers equip the carrier viruses in such a way that the immune system is simulated an infection, to which it reacts with the formation of antibodies and thus creates immune protection.

The vaccines from Biontech and Moderna, on the other hand, are based on so-called messenger RNA (mRNA), which is supposed to convey information to human cells about the production of proteins and thus about the fight against pathogens.

Do you need multiple vaccines?

It will take more than just a vaccine to supply the world’s population, as it will take billions of doses that one manufacturer could never handle on its own. And this especially because most of the vaccines currently being developed are based on two vaccine doses.


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