From Improved Storage To New Variant Efficacy – Pfizer COVID Vaccine Shines


  • New research and lab studies are providing more hope for the Pfizer vaccine.
  • While Pfizer’s own study has shown that the vaccine can be stored in warmer temperatures now, a lab study has shown its effectiveness in new variants. 
  • Lab studies show the vaccine can neutralise  two-third of the south African Variant.
  • Pfizer has said there’s no real life report of new variants escaping the vaccine.
  • Meanwhile Pfizer provided data that shows the vaccine can be stored at -70 ° instead of -112°
  • Pfizer says that this will increase the shelf life and expiration date of the vaccine

In a major development, Pfizer and BioNTech have submitted new data to the Food and Drug Administration showing that their coronavirus vaccine can be stored at higher temperatures, a development that limits logistical challenges posed by transporting and storing a vaccine that until now has required extremely cold storage, reports US News.

  • Pfizer COVID vaccine are now required  stored at -70 ° in a super freezer.
  •  Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine is currently labeled as needing to be stored at minus 112 degrees to minus 76 degrees for up to six months.
  • The ability to store the vaccine in warmer temperatures means they can be kept in standard freezers and refrigerators.

Stable for Weeks 

In a press release Friday, Pfizer said the data demonstrates “the stability” of its COVID-19 vaccine when stored at minus 13 degrees to minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit – temperatures more commonly found in freezers and refrigerators in pharmacies.

Vaccine vials would be able to be stored at these temperatures for a total of two weeks “as an alternative or complement to storage in an ultra-low temperature freezer,” the release stated.

Easing Vaccine Storage & Transport

Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine is currently labeled as needing to be stored at minus 112 degrees to minus 76 degrees for up to six months.

The vaccines currently need to be transported in specially designed thermal containers, which can be used as temporary storage for a month if they are refilled with dry ice every five days.

Due to its need to be stored at such cold temperatures, the Pfizer vaccine poses a challenge for areas and facilities that don’t have access to ultra-cold freezers, making it less accessible as not all local pharmacies or vaccination sites have the needed storage.

Vaccine Shelf Life Increases

Pfizer added that it anticipates the shelf life and expiration date of its vaccine could be extended and alternative short-term temperature storage could be considered as additional stability data is obtained.

Vaccine Effective on New Variants

Meanwhile a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday suggests that Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine can protect people against concerning new coronavirus variants, including one first seen in South Africa called B.1.351, reports CNN.

  • For the study, researchers at Pfizer and the University of Texas Medical Branch genetically engineered versions of the virus to carry some of the mutations found in B.1.351. 
  • They tested them against blood samples taken from 15 people who had received two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as part of a clinical trial.
  • While the blood serum samples produced less neutralizing antibody activity, it was still enough to neutralize the virus, they wrote in a letter to the journal.
  •  This is in line with other studies. And it’s well within what is seen with other viruses, one of the researchers said.

Fairly High Level of Neutralisation

“Although we do not yet know exactly what level of neutralization is required for protection against COVID-19 disease or infection, our experience with other vaccines tells us that it is likely that the Pfizer vaccine offers relatively good protection against this new variant,” Scott Weaver, director of the Institute for Human Infections and Immunity at the University of Texas Medical Branch and an author of the study, told CNN.

“The reduction in the levels of neutralization against the South African variant of about 2/3 is fairly small compared to variations in neutralization levels generated by vaccines against other viruses that have even more variability in their protein sequences than SARS-CoV-2,” Weaver added.

New Variants Haven’t Escapee the Vaccine

Pfizer said there is no evidence in real life that the variant escapes the protection offered by its vaccine. “Nevertheless, Pfizer and BioNTech are taking the necessary steps, making the right investments, and engaging in the appropriate conversations with regulators to be in a position to develop and seek authorization for an updated mRNA vaccine or booster once a strain that significantly reduces the protection from the vaccine is identified,” Pfizer said in a statement.

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Source: US News , CNN


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