The German company CureVac saying On Friday, that its vaccine for Covid-19 had passed its first interim test, but that it was not yet ready to share data on how well it protects against infection. The injection could be cheaper and more accessible for low-income countries that lack vaccines.
The company said 59 volunteers had developed Covid-19 and that its Data Security Monitoring Board found no security issues. But the board did not share any efficacy data, suggesting that it is not yet clear how much protection the vaccine provides.
“The trial will continue to collect sufficient data to perform a statistically significant efficacy analysis,” the company said in its statement.
The vaccine is based on mRNA technology, such as those developed by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. Those vaccines are in use in the United States and the European Union and have proven to be very effective, increasing the chances that CureVac will also provide strong protection against the coronavirus.
CureVac may have some advantages over the other mRNA vaccines. It can stay viable in a refrigerator for at least three months at 41 degrees Fahrenheit, and can sit for 24 hours at room temperature before use.
In their initial formulations, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines had to be stored in a freezer. Both companies have been modifying their recipes to make their vaccines more stable in warmer temperatures, which may expand their use in poorer countries where freezing can pose a challenge.
CureVac can also be cheaper than its potential rivals. Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy organization, launched a report On Wednesday from researchers from Imperial College London, estimating how much it would cost to produce enough RNA vaccines to provide herd immunity in low- and middle-income countries. It would cost $ 22.83 billion to make 8 billion doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, $ 9.43 billion for Moderna, and only $ 4.38 billion to make CureVac.
Last year, the company saw promising results with its animal vaccines. By December, they had launched their final clinical trial, recruiting 40,000 volunteers in 10 countries in Latin America and Europe.
The trial was designed for an external expert board to periodically verify the trial data as some volunteers developed Covid-19. They would look for warning signs that the vaccine was not safe. They would also check how many of the sick volunteers received the CureVac vaccine and how many received a placebo. If the placebo group was much larger than the vaccine group, that would indicate that the vaccine was protected against Covid-19.
It is impossible to say exactly when CureVac will reach enough cases to present its final results. But on Wednesday, the company hinted that results should arrive before the end of June. “We expect the Phase 2b / 3 fundamental test data reading in Q2,” they said. saying in an update.