How is Moderna's coronavirus vaccine similar (and different) from Pfizer's

A new week… and a new vaccine against the coronavirus. This time the news comes from the modern American laboratory and speaks of an efficiency of 94.5%. Not a week has passed since Pfizer announced that theirs were doing well in 90% of cases. Is it time to uncork the champagne? Actually, according to experts, we better wait. Even though the results are encouragingare not conclusive either. Let's analyze how the two vaccines are alike and different without losing sight of which has scientifically proven efficacy against coronavirus to date: Wear your masks well, wash your hands often, and maintain social distance.

How are Moderna's and Pfizer's vaccines alike?

From a purely technical point of view, both vaccines have been designed with the same technique: that of messenger RNA. This technique has not been used before to make vaccines and it is the first time it has been tested for this purpose in humans. In addition, both vaccines are joined by the fact that they have released surprisingly good preliminary efficacy results: Pfizer's vaccine advertised an efficacy of 90% and Moderna's has just stated that it increases that percentage to almost 95%. Both, in addition, need to administer two doses to the patient to achieve these good results.

Other similarities between the two vaccines are not so optimistic. For example, with both therapies, experts recommend caution: the results presented by pharmaceutical companies on their products are preliminary, in fact, very preliminary. The information se based on reports from the companies themselves for their investors and the results of the phase 3 study have not yet been compiled or peer-reviewed.

In a scenario in which there is no global pandemic, the usual thing would have been that these data would have been released after being conclusive and became published in a scientific journal so that the rest of the world's scientists could access them and check if the study is well done and designed and if the data is conclusive and can be replicated. Both vaccines lack this procedure so, although hopeful, scientists continue to advise caution, among other things, because much remains to be known about both formulations, for example, how long the protection lasts is unknown against the coronavirus they generate.


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How the Moderna Vaccine and the Pfizer Vaccine Differ

The biggest difference between the two vaccines is their preservation method. While Pfizer's should be kept at a temperature of -70 degrees, that of Moderna is more resistant (and therefore easier to preserve and does not pose a logistical challenge of the magnitude of Pfizer's): it is kept frozen at -20 degrees for six months and remains stable at a temperature of 2 to 8 degrees for 30 days and 12 hours at room temperature.

Another difference between the two is that in Moderna's study they were included among the 30,000 volunteers vulnerable people who have received the vaccine (over 65 years old) and according to the efficacy results it seems that the vaccine works equally well in young and old populations.

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