Pfizer: A shot in arm
Shares of Pfizer jumped nearly 20% Tuesday early trade to hit an all-time high after its parent Pfizer Inc said its experimental Covid-19 vaccine is more than 90% effective based on initial trial results.
In early trade, Pfizer shares had surged as much as 19.5% to an all-time high of Rs 5,875.
Pfizer and German partner BioNTech said they had found no serious safety concerns yet and expected to seek US emergency use authorization this month, raising the chance of a regulatory decision as soon as December, an announcement that triggered hopes worldwide.
The two companies estimate they can roll out up to 50 million doses this year, enough to protect 25 million people, and then produce up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021, if they are granted approval.
However, the vaccine arrival in the local market will be delayed as the data on safety is still awaited.
Also, the vaccine’s complex and super-cold storage requirements are an obstacle for even the most sophisticated hospitals in the United States and may impact when and where it is available in rural areas or poor countries where resources are tight.
The main issue is that the vaccine, which is based on a novel technology that uses synthetic mRNA to activate the immune system against the virus, needs to be kept at minus 70 degrees Celsius (-94 F) or below.
The most prestigious US hospitals, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said it does not currently have that capability.
A vaccine that needs storage at minus 70 or 80. That’s a tremendous logistical issue not only in the US but outside the Western world. It will need a dry ice to transport frozen vaccine vials by both air and land.
The vaccine can be kept in an ultra-low temperature freezer for up to six months, or for five days at 2-8 degrees C – a type of refrigeration commonly available at hospitals.
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