The Race for a Covid Vaccine Was More About Luck Than Tech

It’s a Coverage of new Kovid vaccines has consistently condensed a long process of research and development. Breakthrough mRNA technologiesIn a few months. Using the new platform was “a quick but risky – even controversial – bet” The washington post; And led to the first human-test “orders of magnitude greater than before any vaccine” United states today. “Holy mackerel,” said Anthony Fauci the Atlantic.

Nothing to take away from MRNA vaccines – they are obviously amazing – but this statement just does not fit the facts. The reality of what happened here, and how Pfizer-Bayonet and Modern came to win the vaccine race in America, is both more convoluted and intriguing. Yes, their mRNA technology was new and different; And it is true that progress on Kovid’s vaccines was far more rapid than before. But those two facts are not so strongly linked. In fact, but for the specific ways in which coronoviruses have progressed around the world, we may end up with very different options at this point.

Modern began its first clinical trial of its mRNA vaccine on 16 March, just a few months after sequencing the genome of the target virus. But on the same day, the Chinese company CanSino Biologics gave its first injection in testing Non-mRNA vaccine. Meanwhile, Pfizer-BioNTech’s first dose of mRNA vaccine was not given in clinical trials More than a month later. By that point, two more Chinese biotech companies, Sinopharm And Sinovac, Had already begun the first of old-school human trials, inactivated virus vaccines – based on the same approach used since the mid-20th century for vaccination against polio and pertussis . a Third commentary It is believed to be slow and outdated “A bug, a medicine“The category, also from Sinopharm, went into clinical trials just one week after Pfizer-BioNotech; while another high-profile mRNA vaccine from CureVac, Germany, did not include it in the clinical trial yet. Months later.

Apparently the use of a revolutionary mRNA platform did not find Fifer-Bayonet and Modern vaccines in clinical trials, particularly for others with low-tech methods. So why was Pfizer-Bayonet and Moderna the first to reach the finish line, and to provide strong evidence that their vaccines actually work? Three factors came into play. First, these vaccines are not moderately effective in preventing Kovid-19 – they Excellent On doing this. When there is such a dramatic difference between a vaccine and a placebo, Quick and easy to confirm Success. The second factor was that these companies managed to run a tour-day-force phase 3 (late stage) trial by quickly recruiting several thousands of participants. As in an epidemic this is very difficult to do A lot of hiccups Revealed in tests from other companies. And finally, there were well-run Phase 3 trials in the US and parts of Latin America, where the new coronoviruses were widespread. To show efficacy, vaccine-makers need their clinical trials to include substantial “events” to people who become ill with Kovid. Given the high rate of infection in the US, these grew at a rapid pace.

In this third domain, in particular, Chinese vaccine developers found themselves at a major disadvantage. Being under control of coronovirus at home meant that they had to seek partners in other countries for their phase 3 trials. This added a major obstacle to getting away from the field, but any delay was soon negotiated. Sinopharm embarked on first Phase 3 trial for its inactivated vaccines in the United Arab Emirates, On 16 July. It was two weeks before Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna started their work. The UAE had the infrastructure to conduct a major trial run, and a very ethnically diverse population, which would be important for the development of vaccines used worldwide. The coronovirus also reached the Middle East early. On the other side of the Persian Gulf, Iran was hit hard: by mid-March, More than 1,000 people Kovid died there. Previously, things were looking great, and there was no reason to believe that Sinopharma would lag behind other companies in reaching a conclusion.