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CureVac vaccine, reduced efficacy in phase 3 trials

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The preliminary analyzes of the phase 3 data of the vaccine from the German company CureVac did not give the expected results: in the trial conducted on 40,000 volunteers between Latin America and Europe, this mRNA vaccine demonstrated an estimated efficacy of 47%, among lowest ever observed for available covid vaccines. The final percentages are expected in two or three weeks, but according to industry experts it is unlikely that they deviate much from these values.

Unexpected results. The news released with a note from the German company itself disappointed the hopes of those who believed this vaccine to be stable for months in the refrigerator and cheaper to produce, because it uses a smaller amount of mRNA for each vial, ideal for vaccination campaigns in countries around the world. middle and low income. The outcome of the experimentation came a little by surprise. The technology is the same as that used by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines, and CureVac’s vaccine had shown promise in animal testing.

Blame the variants? The reasons for the low effectiveness are not yet known. It could depend on the number of variants currently in circulation, less widespread at the time of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine trials, which however – and here the mystery deepens – are still highly effective against coronavirus variants. Furthermore, the CureVac vaccine appears, in these initial analyzes, to be less effective in the elderly, who most of all need protection.

How do you proceed now. However, CureVac plans to apply for authorization to the EMA, but with these percentages of effectiveness – below the minimum threshold of 50% set by the WHO – the green light is not granted. Unless the final results change a bit: for example, flu vaccines have, depending on the years, an estimated effectiveness between 40% and 60%. Meanwhile, the CureVac takes the hit and looks for new RNA molecules that can work against multiple variants in a single dose. We may need it in the future.

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