Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is the world’s favorite vaccine



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From Latin America to the Middle East, dozens of governments are looking to the coup. Australia now offers the vaccine, having moved away from its competitors. Turkey, UK and Chile provide Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to people who have had other injections.

Demand has grown so much in Argentina that the country has rewritten a new vaccine procurement law so that it can strike a deal with Pfizer.

“Everyone wants to get the best vaccine,” said Wanderson de Oliveira, epidemiologist and former senior official in Brazil’s health ministry, who has increased use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this year while stepping away from manufactured jabs. in China.

“Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine shows superior results compared to other vaccines,” he said.

Countries bought 3.5 billion doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, about 1 billion more doses than they bought from AstraZeneca PLC, the world’s second-largest supplier, according to the Duke Global Health Innovation Center.

Pfizer said it has shipped more than 1.6 billion doses to date to more than 130 countries.

The vaccine’s high efficacy, including against the highly contagious Delta variant, without the blood clotting issues that interfered with absorption of AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson injections, government officials and analysts said. industry.

In addition, the protection provided by the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine does not appear to weaken over time as much as Chinese vaccines, according to studies and government officials, and supplies have not been limited as with the Russian Sputnik shot. V.

There is still a high demand for the other vaccines, according to officials and analysts. Many low- and middle-income countries in particular are likely to rely on rivals, analysts said, because Pfizer simply cannot produce for the whole world and competitors can be stored more easily and can be cheaper. .

Pfizer has increased prices in some countries as the popularity of the vaccine has increased. An Israeli health ministry official told public broadcaster Kan in December that he was paying $ 62 a dose, although the government has not officially confirmed any figures. It is a much higher price than what most countries paid. Pfizer has raised prices for the European Union to $ 23 per dose, from $ 18.

Under a contract with Brazil in May, Pfizer offered doses at $ 12 each, according to Brazilian media. This was higher than the $ 10 per dose offer of a March contract, according to a copy of the contract reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.

The Brazilian and Israeli governments declined to comment on the prices. Pfizer said its vaccine is offered through tiered pricing, in which middle-income countries pay about half the price rich countries pay, and low-income countries pay at cost.

Recent studies have shown that the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines is decreasing, although experts say the injections still work well. WSJ explains what the numbers mean and why they don’t tell the whole story. Photo illustration: Jacob Reynolds / WSJ

The popularity of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot positions the New York-based drugmaker to capture a greater share of the global vaccine market, according to Bernstein Research analyst Ronny Gal. Pfizer owns Prevnar, the world’s best-selling pneumonia vaccine, which sold $ 5.9 billion in sales last year.

The World Health Organization estimates that the global vaccine market, not counting Covid-19 vaccines, is worth $ 33 billion a year globally. Covid-19 injections and boosters could add $ 3 billion to $ 15 billion a year to market size after 2023, depending on the boosters’ recommendations, Mr. Gal estimates.

“It doesn’t look like any other company could threaten its dominance in the Covid-19 market,” Mr. Gal said. Now that the mRNA technology has been validated and regulators are familiar with it, Pfizer should have an easier time securing government approvals for future shots developed by the company, Gal added.

Modern Inc.

makes a similar mRNA-based vaccine, but it is not used as widely, analysts said, because Pfizer has more sales and manufacturing capabilities. Additionally, Pfizer’s partnership with Israel has provided real-world efficacy data that helps countries make immunization decisions.

Some countries have limited use of Moderna’s vaccine by certain groups due to the risk of rare inflammatory heart disease, which has also been seen in a small number of young people who have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Moderna plans to produce 1 billion doses this year, compared to 3 billion for Pfizer. Pfizer and BioNTech have said they could produce 4 billion doses next year.

After a limited start, Pfizer and BioNTech began to develop their manufacturing at the start of the pandemic before they knew if the vaccine was working. Pfizer has expanded its manufacturing footprint, bringing in sub-contractors in Brazil, South Africa, Italy and other countries, while its partner BioNTech has also assembled a separate suite of sub-contractors.

French drug manufacturer Sanofi TO

recently abandoned development of a Covid-19 vaccine, despite promising study results, claiming that the Covid-19 mRNA vaccine market was too crowded.

The preference for Pfizer is a change from last year, when many countries chose to seek supply contracts with Western companies, Russia or China that were developing injections using more traditional technology than technology. mRNA based on genes, then unproven.

“It’s really amazing how quickly people get educated,” said BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin.

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BioNTech is also poised to benefit from the vaccine’s success, becoming a full-fledged global pharmaceutical player. Analysts said the revenue from Covid-19 supply contracts will help fund the company’s pipeline of investigational drugs and vaccines.

Australia started offering doses of Pfizer after initially focusing on the shots from AstraZeneca and CSL Ltd.

and the University of Queensland. The government dropped the CSL-Queensland candidate in December because beneficiaries of an early clinical trial were falsely positive for HIV. In April, Australia recommended that older people not get vaccinated with AstraZeneca, citing a rare but high risk of blood clots in women.

The outbreaks of Covid-19 in July forced Australia to once again revise AstraZeneca’s guidelines, recommending it for all adults during an outbreak, although it is not clear how many people followed the advice as the country pushed the gunfire from Pfizer.

In search of additional supplies, Australia received four million doses of the Pfizer vaccine from the UK, one million from Poland and 500,000 from Singapore.

Turkey’s initial bet on Chinese vaccines paid off quickly, when doses of Pfizer-BioNTech were in limited supply. The country, however, has more recently switched to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, including offering its two doses to revaccinate people who have received China’s Sinovac vaccine.

Turkey’s health ministry said it was offering Pfizer vaccines to encourage travel to countries that have not approved the Chinese vaccine, and Turkish officials said supplies had increased following talks with the Dr Sahin from BioNTech, a native of Turkey who later moved to Germany.

A former member of the Turkish Ministry of Health’s coronavirus committee said scientific data the government collected on the relative effectiveness of vaccines likely also played a role in the decision to revaccinate people who initially received the Sinovac vaccine. .

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, recently began banning anyone who took a Sinopharm vaccine more than six months ago from entering public places unless they are given a booster. Such restrictions do not apply to persons who took the Pfizer-BioNTech photo.

The UK is now recommending Pfizer-BioNTech’s coup for the country’s recall campaign instead of UK-based AstraZeneca. The AstraZeneca vaccine was widely used in the first phase of the country’s vaccination rollout, but it is now only recommended as a booster if people are allergic to Pfizer’s vaccine.

Argentina initially rejected the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in part because Pfizer insisted the country protect it from legal liability for any injuries caused by the shooting. The country’s vaccine law, passed in October to govern vaccine purchases, could have exposed Pfizer to prosecution if a person were severely disgusted by the company’s vaccine.

Still, “Argentinian public’s obsession with Pfizer” amid delays in Sputnik V vaccine deliveries amid spate of infections and deaths has prompted government to change course, Health Minister Carla says Vizzotti.

In July, Argentina issued a decree removing negligent language from the vaccine law to accommodate Pfizer and set up a fund to compensate those harmed by the vaccine. In August, the country signed a deal for more than 20 million shots at $ 12 a dose, more expensive than contracts with Sputnik and AstraZeneca, according to the contracts.

“This is very important because, together with Moderna, it is the vaccine that has been shown to be the most effective,” said lawmaker Graciela Ocaña.

Write to Jared S. Hopkins at [email protected] and Alice Uribe at [email protected]

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