The Pfizer and BionNTech laboratories issued a statement this Saturday in which they thanked the government of Uruguay after President Luis Lacalle Pou announced a purchase agreement for vaccines against the coronavirus, for which 2,000 will arrive in the course of this year. 700 doses from these companies, and 1,750,000 doses from the Sinovac laboratory.
« We are deeply honored to work with the national government and direct our scientific and production resources towards our common goal, providing Uruguayans with a vaccine against covid-19 as quickly as possible, » said Carlos Murillo, regional president for America. Pfizer’s Latina, according to a press release of the companies published by El País, and accessed by El Observador.
“In the face of this global health crisis, Pfizer’s purpose – innovations that change the lives of patients – has taken on even greater urgency. Our hope is that our vaccine helps make this happen, « added the chief.
For his part, the Director of Business and the Commercial Department of BionNTech, Sean Marett, also expressed his gratitude for the agreement reached with Uruguay, in which it was agreed that the first doses of Pfizer-BioNTech will arrive in early March.
“I would like to thank the Uruguayan government for its support and for trusting in our ability to develop a vaccine that, we believe, has the potential to help address the global threat of this pandemic. Our goal remains to maintain a global supply of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine for many people around the world, as quickly as possible, ”Marett said.
According to the statement, «Pfizer and BioNTech expect to manufacture around 2 billion total doses globally by the end of 2021, assuming the updated indication of six doses per vial, continuous improvements in processes, expansion of current sites and inclusion of new suppliers and contracted manufacturers ».
The vaccines of these companies need two doses – separated by about three weeks – to generate the desired efficacy, which is projected to be around 90%. They use a messenger RNA technology: their function is to tell the cells of the body how to create a protein to generate antibodies to the virus. For its provision, a more complex logistics is needed compared to the case of other vaccines – such as those of Sinovac -, since it requires storage at 70 degrees Celsius below zero.
Regarding this vaccine, the general coordinator of the Honorary Scientific Advisory Group (GACH), Rafael Radi, told El Observador this Saturday that he considered it « very appropriate for what is the first phase of the plan, especially to shield health personnel and vulnerable populations due to their high efficiency ”.
Also in this sense, the Minister of Health, Daniel Salinas assured on the afternoon of this Saturday on his Twitter account that the portfolio already has the ultra-freezer equipment ready to receive the vaccines against the coronavirus, which will have to remain at -70 degrees.
# Ultra cold. Challenging vaccine logistics with ultra-cold chain at -70 degrees Celsius. MSP already prepared. Ultrafreezers installed and running since yesterday. Thanks to the MSP team at Lab. Calmette, Ing. R. Bianchi, @josesatdjian and TCU. pic.twitter.com/hCjgqYes3k
– Daniel Salinas (@DrDanielSalinas) January 23, 2021
And regarding the doses of Sinovac that will also arrive in the country from March, the scientist stated that it is « a vaccine that is made on a very safe platform, because it has been tested over many years. » “It is true that Sinovac has a lower efficacy, but the safety in principle is very high. And at the population level, when many vaccines are given, even if the efficacy is a little lower, community transmission is cut off. It seems like a good combination, « he said.
This second vaccine requires two doses separated by a few weeks, and uses the most traditional method, which is the injection of an inactivated virus into the person. That is: dead viral particles to expose the immune system without risk of infection.
A study by the Butantan Institute, in Brazil, indicated that the overall efficacy was greater than 50%, although in the first instance it had reported that it was 90%. In terms of logistics, it is simpler than those of Pfizer-BioNTech: it must be stored at a temperature between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius.
Pfizer Phase Three
The Pfizer-BioNTech statement also says that the phase three clinical study of this vaccine « began on July 27 and has enrolled approximately 44,000 participants. »
The people who received these doses are from « approximately 150 sites » in the United States, Germany, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil and Argentina.
« Participants will continue to be monitored for long-term protection and safety for an additional two years after their second dose, » the text says.