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What makes a good COVID-19 vaccine? Serum Institute's Adar Poonawalla explains

Manali     November 18, 2020

Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla has defined what makes a "good vaccine". Taking to Twitter on Tuesday, November 18, Poonawalla said that a vaccine can be called a 'good vaccine' only if it meets four key criteria.

Pune-based pharma giant's CEO said that a good vaccine must be safe, should offer long-term protection against targeted disease, can be transported and stored at a manageable temperature, and lastly, affordable.

"Definition of a good vaccine = 1. Safe 2. Offers long-term protection against targetted disease 3. Can be transported and stored at a manageable temperature 4. Affordable to all of humanity," Poonawalla tweeted.


His tweet comes after drugmakers Moderna and Pfizer recently claimed that their respective coronavirus vaccine candidate showed 90 per cent efficacy.

Also Read: World will need COVID-19 vaccines for 20 years: Adar Poonawalla

The pharma giants' announcements of the safety percentage of their experimental inoculations have heightened the vaccine battle. Moderna had said earlier this week that its vaccine candidate was found to be almost 95 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19.

This announcement followed Pfizer, which also claimed that its shots appeared to have shown around 90 per cent efficacy.

These assertions have boosted hopes of an effective jab that will work against COVID-19 earlier than expected, but these are preliminary claims basis the results for less than 100 coronavirus cases in each study.

The efficacy numbers will be modified as the studies continue and more clinical trials on more study participants carried out.

Also Read: 'Your money, blow it up if you want': Cyrus Poonawalla's word of caution to son Adar on Covid vaccine

Thus, although the initial findings are promising, they don't reveal the complete story. Several key concerns need to be addressed before the vaccines are given a go-ahead.

US health officials said a coronavirus vaccine would need to be at least 50 per cent effective before they could consider approving it for use. There was a concern that coronavirus vaccines might be only as effective as flu vaccines, which have ranged from 20 per cent to 60 per cent effective in recent years.

Scientists also need to comprehend how well the vaccine protects people in different age groups and demographic categories. For both vaccines, the interim results were based on people who had COVID-19 symptoms that prompted a virus test. That means we don't know yet whether someone who is vaccinated might still get infected -- even if they show no symptoms -- and spread the virus.

Overall, Pfizer and BioNTech are conducting stage 3 trials involving 43,358 participants. The clarity on the full-scale efficacy of the vaccine can only be known after the complete results of phase 3 clinical trials are out. Moderna also enrolled 30,000 participants for its late-stage trial.

Also Read: Serum Institute to roll out COVID-19 vaccine in India by January 2021: Adar Poonawalla

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