covid 19 vaccine

Moderna, Pfizer, Sputnik: vaccine claims and efficiency

Pfizer the big global pharma giant claiming 90% efficiency on covid-19 vaccine great news on the COVID front. It’s not like Coronavirus has gone away, it is yet raging across the world crushing people, nations, economies, communities, it’s already taken a toll of 1.4 million people. And even in India soon enough, the numbers of cases, not fatalities, cases will reach a crowd. So the virus is widespread.

But it looks like humankind is now obtaining an answer to it. That’s occurring in the form of vaccines. So the big news that number on us is vaccines. Now, in the past several days, we’ve had two vaccines come up with the claim of 90% plus efficiency, and then not to be left back a third one has entered in also claiming 92% efficiency.

Moderna’s website click here

So these are three vaccines. I will list them by the claim percentage and not chronologically, so at the top is from a new American company Moderna, which is a biotech company claiming 94.5% efficacy that’s very high. Then there is the Russian vaccine, Sputnik five. That is, in some ways the odd man out but still, it is Russia is a big scientific power in its own right, they’ve claimed efficiency of 92%. And then there is the big global pharma giant Pfizer claiming 90%. So everything above 90, this is as good as it gets.

WHO has even said that they will take any vaccine that is higher than 50% effective. And if you want to understand in relative terms, the flu vaccine that we normally take every year. That has about 40 to 60% assurance. So it doesn’t give you 100% protection, but 40 to 60%. I think it’s more on the lower side than the higher side of this range. But still, it’s a lot and it saves millions of lives over the world every year, not just that it also then makes the virus milder in case you still, unfortunately, get it despite the vaccine. So any vaccine, which is more than 50% effective is good.

But 90% Plus is incredible. And the reason we have made it so promptly, this is the quickest vaccine program in the history of humankind is that all of the governments and all of the world’s scientists have put their brains collectively. Also, there is hyper-communication so scientists are also receiving data much quicker. In fact, 10s of thousands of articles, research papers have already been published on Coronavirus on various perspectives of it.

Now, before we go into these vaccines, we have to understand. So, as a person, most of us would think quickly, oh 90% efficient. That means if you give it to 100 people 10 will get sick, and 90 will not get sick. Now that’s wrong because that makes it the presumption that all hundred would have got sick. So it doesn’t work like that. vaccine trials are complex, or drug. All drug trials are complex, and they all have scientific protocols. But vaccine trials particularly these are vaccines for deadly diseases have a peculiar problem for drugs for other diseases.

You can face your sample or your patients or people on trial, or people included in a trial with the disease or with the bug since Coronavirus. COVID-19 is a killer virus it can take somebody’s life. It is not moral to expose your people or your trial population to the virus.

So what do you do normally?

What you would have done was taken a bunch of people for trial, put half in the vaccine group half in the control group that is a double-blinded trial. So half would have got the vaccine, the other half would have got, we are getting the vaccine, but it would have been sidelined water or something.

Nobody would have known who’s got the vaccine and who’s got the that, if you were able to confront them with the virus, then you could have come back with the answer very fast saying, we confronted all of them with the virus, we just showered more with the virus, so many gods sick in the control group, or placebo group, so many god sake in the vaccine group that you can’t do, because you don’t have that luxury.

You look for areas places where the virus is still spreading and then leave it to Mother Nature. So in fact, in an earlier cut the clutter on the Oxford vaccine, which is now also called Astra Zeneca vaccine, which is being manufactured in very large numbers by Serum Institute of India.

A lot of it is already being stocked the anticipation that this will get the final approval that scientists from Oxford had said that we vaccine scientists are the only ones who have a vested interest in the virus continuing to spread because if it doesn’t spread, then they can’t do their research. So what happens, in this case, is you take a bunch of people, Pfizer, for example, 240 3500 people, more modern to 30,000 people, these are stage three trials.

Half of these that is the principle of a double-blind, half of these was given the real virus, half of these were given maybe saline water or whatever, then they said, Look, we are confronting them with the virus, but we are living in an environment where viruses spread. So let us see how many of them get it over some time.

When do you decide you’ve waited long enough. And these are some things that we don’t understand. So then you decide, I will wait till so many people get sick in my group of 43,500 or 30,000. And once I know how many of God’s sick, then I will figure out I will take out the code on as we say in exams. I don’t know what happens now.

But we used to get a fake roll number with which you could not identify the candidate. These are numbers like that. So we will then unscramble these numbers and figure out how many of these positive cases had had the vaccine and how many had not. So that is how you arrive at these numbers. Now, when Pfizer says that they are 90% efficacious. Now, if you look at Pfizer, Pfizer people had set up their protocol in terms of looking for 164 positive cases.

Pfizer said that they will complete their research when they have 164 positive cases out of their entire lot on the trial of 43,500 people. Now, sometimes you don’t reach the limit at the midway point to check what’s going on. Suppose a lot of people are falling sick, then is a look, look, this is not right. So Midway you can view your data. So then it put a limit of 164. But much before that at 94. So Pfizer, then when they reached 94 positive cases, they looked at their data, and they said at this midpoint, we can say that our vaccine works.

This is stage three trials, because out of 94 only, roughly now these are not precise numbers we know but these words, scientists tell us and there are two articles that I’m sharing with you here, a man from the conversation, and one from Channel News, Asia. And the article from the conversation is written by Professor zanya stem attacchi, who teaches viral immunology at the University of Birmingham. So basically, when you say that I had 94 positive cases and 90% efficacy, what it means is that not more than eight of these cases are from the group that was getting the vaccine at six must be from the group that is not getting the vaccine.

Conversation article click here

Once again, If this number was 100 overall number then people who would have been from the non-vaccine group would have been 90 people from the vaccine group would have been 10 that is how you come to 90% efficacy. Similarly, when you look at Moderna sample was 13,400. But for this CPC calculations, the size of the sample doesn’t matter. Moderna had set their own cutoff for their research at 151 cases, but they also took a midpoint break in 95 cases. So Pfizer at 94 Moderna at 95.

They said We have 94.5% efficacy, how did they come to that. So once again out of 95, say, 90 cases were from the cohort that was being given the placebo, and only five was from the group that was being given the vaccine, which means if these cases had gone up to 100, then 94.5 of these would have been from the placebo group people who are not getting the vaccine on five and a half. This is statistics, you’re not cutting a human being into two and five and a half from the group getting the vaccine.

That’s how you arrive at an efficacy rate of 94.5%.

Now, the Russian vaccines put Nick five, on the other hand,

has made this claim of 92% at a too low level, their target

was to set up a trial of 40,000. They’ve only got 16,000.

Yet, as we stock, a bunch of their samples is coming

into India as well for trials, those numbers will be added.

And this will be done at deaconess Shanker Vidyarthi Medical College

in Kanpur, which is a government-run Medical College.

In fact, when I looked at its website, I was happy to

notice that among its most prominent alumni is

Dr. Harsha Vardhan, our central union health minister.

I think they’ve also got caught in the race. And they

saw Pfizer came up with their claim of 90%.

So they also jumped the gun a little bit with 16,000

samples only yet. And only 20 positive cases,

others have gone 90 plus positive cases, with the

cases with only 20 positive positive cases,

they said we have 92% accuracy, so you can

make your calculation out of 20.

I doubt, what it means is that 18 point something so

I don’t know how they arrived with this precise calculation,

but generally about 18 months from the placebo group,

and two might have been from the non-placebo group

or the vaccine group. So these are the three vaccines

that they have that we have.