In the race to acquire COVID-19 vaccines, there are a few crucial factors to take into account,efficacy, price and storage conditions.
In terms of efficacy, the candidate by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its partner German biotech firm BioNTech,. is leading the way at 95 percent efficacy followed by Moderna at 94.5 and AstraZeneca at 70 percent on average.
“In my view the BioNTech, the Pfizer-BioNTech, is probably the most well focused of the vaccines because it uses only this thing called the receptor-binding domainSo they're going to be antibodies that can actually stop the virus binding onto its receptor.”
However, AstraZeneca says the effectiveness of its vaccine can be raised to 90 percent by taking a full second dose after an initial half dose.
Despite the relatively low efficacy rate compared to its competitors, what makes the candidate from AstraZeneca attractive is the price.
Given that two doses are required for full vaccination, the AstraZeneca vaccine will cost around 5 to 10 U.S. dollars,significantly cheaper compared to that of Moderna and Pfizer.
For a person to get two doses of Moderna's vaccine, it would cost at least 50 dollars.
Another important factor is how easy it is to transport and store the vaccines.
While AstraZeneca's remains safe for at least six months under regular refrigerator temperatures, Pfizer's needs to be transported at around minus-70 degrees Celsius and once defrosted can only be stored for up to five days.
Moderna's vaccine also has a shorter shelf life and is more difficult to transport and store compared to AstraZeneca's.
As the development of the vaccines is getting closer to completion, buyers are left to weigh up the benefits of each.
While some will be more effective, others could prove to be more practical.
Kim Sung-min, Arirang News