The United Kingdom and Israel are at the forefront of vaccinating millions of people against COVID-19 in the rest of the world.
Although new variants of the corona virus are worrying, accelerated immunization programs are showing signs of activation. The number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths in both countries is declining, allowing their governments to re-establish plans.
Bloomberg News Spoke with Kate Bingham, former chairman of the UK Vaccine Working Group and Ron Poliser, chair of the Corona virus advisory committee at the Israeli Ministry of Health, on how quickly these countries have acted and what the world is ready to do. For future infectious challenges. His comments have been edited for clarity.
When purchasing vaccines, they had to protect the products without knowing which vaccines were going to work. How did you decide what to buy?
Pingam: Our approach is to create a portfolio of different vaccines. This refers to the combination of MRNA and adenovirus-based vaccines – with the most established vaccine forms – as the most clinically advanced vaccines. Namely, protein supplement-based vaccines and inactivated whole virus vaccines. And so on Our approach was to choose the most promising in different forms, hoping that at least one or more of them would be successful.
In Israel, so far they have mostly been done with a vaccine. How was that?
Poliser: Israel is lucky to get enough from Pfizer to carry out the most comprehensive vaccination campaign. The vast majority of people at our risk are already involved. We are beginning to see the benefits of this immunization program as there is a massive decline in acute morbidity rates.
Some in the EU are skeptical about the astrogenic vaccine that the UK believes in with Pfizer. How does it work?
Bingham: When different tests are performed at different locations with different transplants, it may not be exactly apples for apples, but what we see outside of Scotland is against the fact that the astrogenica vaccine is proving to greatly reduce hospital admissions. Pfizer vaccine. But still The truth is, both are effective and both are safe, and if someone gives these vaccines they should take them.
How will the new types of strategies affect and to what extent are we prepared to deal with them?
Pingam: Part of our strategy is to make sure that if there are serious mutations to avoid current vaccines, they can be quickly highlighted. Not so at this time. The evidence we have is that the vaccines we have will address the UK variant, the South African variant and the Brazilian variant. We have dosages from NovaVox that show very profound effects against these different types.
Also, we have two different strategies. One is to explore the mixing and matching of different vaccines to express different immune responses. In addition, we have invested in production so that vaccines can be quickly updated to address those potential variations if current responses are avoided.
Policy: The main driver of the rise of new events we have seen in recent months is the UK variant. For the mass vaccination campaign that was most effective according to our data, at least, we were able to control it. All the data on the effectiveness of the vaccine comes from the time when the new variant was dominated by the virus, so this is good news.
Sometimes we have strategies that can be mixed and matched with different vaccines, and both Pfizer and Moderna can develop newer vaccines that are more suitable for those new variants when available.
– Do you think that there will be so-called multivalent vaccines that will work against any new variant that appears at some point?
Poliser: We can’t do that for the flu, but the flu turns out to be different than the corona viruses. Although I am optimistic, I do not know if we can develop such a vaccine. We may need to update our vaccination campaign annually or seasonally depending on the vaccines that appear. I think the arbitral tribunal has not yet decided on this matter.
To what extent is the UK or Israel responsible for ensuring a fair distribution of vaccines worldwide?
Policy: As a small country, there is very little that can be done. We try to disseminate evidence of the effectiveness of the vaccine and thereby help other countries to resolve doubts about the vaccine.
Bingham: A fundamental responsibility that we take very seriously. A key component of what we have done in the UK is to ensure that the clinical trials we support and conduct generate data that can be used by regulators around the world. To ensure that those vaccines are approved as soon as possible.
-This will not be the last epidemic the world will face. What can we do to respond more quickly next time?
Pingam: Current vaccines, although very effective, are not particularly suitable for widespread distribution worldwide. We have expensive cold chains and storage, complex logistics, we use glass. We need to find ways to solve it all: scalable, stable, cheap, simply without health professionals, so no needles, no dilutions on site. That’s where we need to invest.
Policy: We need to improve our monitoring mechanisms as well. Thanks to the immense efforts of the UK to make massive and systematic sequencing, we have the information to make it possible for other countries to make any difference. It is essential to synchronize our monitoring procedures to achieve results quickly.
We need to improve the ability to produce low cost and complex vaccines that can be produced quickly.The eye is spreading to all countries, regardless of their ability to have more expensive logistics.
With information from Bloomberg