Coronavirus – New anti-covid vaccines: will Pfizer outdo Moderna in France?

Contaminations by BA.5, one of the sub-variants of Omicron, are multiplying again in France, causing an epidemic resumption of covid-19. At the same time, the two champions of RNA vaccination, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, are engaged in fierce competition. In their sights, the vaccination campaign which is announced for the fall.

Covid-19: all our information

Authorization for the BA.5 vaccine obtained Monday by Pfizer

Both have developed new bivalent vaccines, made up half of RNA from the original Wuhan virus, and half of RNA from Omicron, in order to offer “greater, longer lasting protection”. , wider, ”says Moderna.

In this global market worth several tens of billions of euros, Pfizer seems to have taken a slight head start in Europe: the American laboratory succeeded in obtaining, on September 12, a green light from the Agency European Medicines (EMA), for its bivalent vaccine which integrates the BA.5 strain, the one which circulates massively. Moderna, which is also working on the same type of vaccine, does not, however, have such authorization. Just that for its vaccine based on BA.1, a nearly extinct strain of Omicron. Pfizer also benefits from such a sesame for its own product integrating BA.1 since September 1st.

During a press conference organized this Wednesday, the French staff of Moderna tried to explain the reasons for this delay concerning the European authorization of its BA.5 vaccine, while in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) validated it on August 31. “We are in discussion with the EMA to submit our file and have an evaluation extremely quickly. The goal is to be ready for the fall vaccine campaign”, assured Sandra Fournier, general manager of Moderna France, who must admit that “the other laboratory”, Pfizer, submitted “its data before us”. .

No clinical trial needed for a green light

Sandra Fournier added that Moderna’s BA.5 vaccine “has been submitted as a priority to the FDA in the United States, to respond to the request of Professor Fauci (the adviser to the American presidency on the covid crisis, editor’s note) . However, the requests may be different from one country to another. In Europe, the EMA then favored a BA.1 vaccine. The request for a BA.5 came later”.

The clinical trials – on humans – of the BA.5 vaccines have not yet delivered their results and the health authorities have decided to rely on preclinical trials – on animal models -, as well as on the clinical trials of other bivalent vaccines, to render their decision. This can speed up the process.

“Our clinical trial on BA.5 has started and inclusions are complete. It includes around 800 subjects and we should have results before the end of the year, ”said Arnaud Chéret, medical director of Moderna France.

Moderna defends its BA.1 vaccine

He also pointed out the interest of their other bivalent vaccine, integrating the BA.1 strain: “We have shown that it was significantly more effective on BA.4 and BA.5 than our original vaccine. It also makes it possible to prepare for the arrival of new sub-lineages or variants: bivalent vaccines, whatever they are, increase the spectrum of protection. The BA.2.75 variant, which has become the majority in India, is, for example, closer to BA.1 than to BA.4 and BA.5”.

Faced with the various proposals for bivalent vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer, the High Authority for Health’s mission is to integrate them into the French fall vaccine strategy. She must unveil the results of her work in mid-September.

letelegramme Fr Trans

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