SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – A big step in the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic, as US regulators released their first scientific evaluation of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine and they confirmed it offers strong protection.

This is welcomed news as most of the Bay Area is under a second stay-at-home order as COVID-19 cases continue to surge. 

The FDA issued its analysis Tuesday morning saying the Pfizer vaccine is “strongly protective” against the virus. 

This Thursday, the FDA’s review panel will meet to see if the vaccine meets the threshold for emergency use authorization. 

With each day that passes, it appears a vaccine for the virus that causes COVID-19 disease gets closer to receiving authorization by the FDA, which means it is that much closer to distribution here in the U.S.

Two different vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna are both in that category. A third made by AstraZeneca is also conducting Stage 3 clinical trials outside the U.S.

Pfizer and Moderna are two messenger RNA vaccines. 

These vaccines contain material from the virus that causes COVID-19. This gives our cells instructions on how to make the harmless protein or antigen that is unique to the virus. 

The second type of vaccine is a vector vaccine. These vaccines differ in that they are adenovirus-based vaccines that contain a weakened version of the live virus that is actually a different virus other than the one that causes COVID-19. 

However, it has genetic material from the virus that contains COVID-19.

The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is in the messenger RNA category. It requires 2 doses, 28-days apart. 

In Phase 3 trials, it demonstrated 95% efficacy. The vaccine must be stored at -94 degrees. 

On November 20, 2020, it was sent to the FDA for emergency use authorization. That EAU is currently pending. The price is estimated at less than $20 per dose.

Although the Moderna vaccine is also a messenger RNA vaccine however it uses a different formulation. 

The company is betting on its trade secret approach being better. 

The Moderna vaccine also differs from Pfizer in that it can be shipped at -20 degrees and can be kept stable at a temperature found inside a standard home refrigerator. 

The estimated price per dose is just over $30 and looks to be approved as early as next week.

AstraZeneca is in the category of adenovirus vector vaccines. It also requires 2 doses, 28-days apart. 

The clinical trials were conducted in the United Kingdom and Brazil and demonstrated efficacy between 70% to 90% depending on the dosage. 

This vaccine is stable at higher temperatures 36 to 46 degrees. The cost is estimated at around $3 per dose.

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