How these five COVID-19 vaccines work

Coronavirus

Denver (KDVR) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control lists five COVID vaccines in phase three clinical trials or starting phase three trials.

As of Nov. 24, 2020, large-scale (Phase 3) clinical trials are in progress or being planned for five COVID-19 vaccines in the United States:

  • Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine​
  • Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine
  • AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine
  • Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine
  • Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine

The Pfizer vaccine uses messenger RNA technology to instruct cells to produce a coronavirus spike protein. That protein sparks the immune system to produce antibodies. Data shows the vaccine is 95% effective. Pfizer has applied to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization and the FDA will meet Dec. 10th to discuss. Millions of doses could be available by the end of the year.

The Moderna vaccine also uses mRNA technology. Data shows it is 94% effective. Moderna has applied to the FDA for emergency use authorization. The group will meet Dec. 17th to discuss the EUA. Millions of doses could be available by the end of the year.

The AstraZeneca vaccine uses an adenovirus, which can cause a common cold in humans and animals. The adenovirus is modified to instruct cells to make the coronavirus spike protein and create an immune response. AstraZeneca has reported an average of 70% effectiveness. This vaccine is in phase three trials and could be available next year.

The Johnson & Johnson/ Janssen vaccine also uses the adenovirus.  It is in phase three trials and could be available next year.

The Novavax vaccine uses a coronavirus spike protein that was created in a lab. It’s injected to create an immune response. The hepatitis B vaccine uses this kind of technology. Novavax plans to start phase three clinical trials in the next few weeks.

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