(ANSA) – ROME, 02 DEC – The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines both have a very high efficacy, but the former offers a slightly higher protection. It is the result of the first large-scale head-to-head comparison between the two mRNA vaccines conducted by the US Department of Veterans Affairs and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“Both are incredibly effective with rare cases of post-vaccine infections. But regardless of the predominant virus strain – first Alpha and then Delta – Moderna has been shown to be slightly more effective,” said study author Juan Pablo Casas Romero. .
The research considered about 440,000 American veterans who had received one of the two mRNA vaccines, verifying the frequency and severity of any infections in the 4 months following the second dose. Overall, 2,016 infections occurred in this period (1,135 in Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinated people, 881 in Moderna ones); 559 were symptomatic (327 and 232, respectively). Of these, 411 (258 and 153) required hospitalization, 125 (77 and 48) required intensive care and 81 resulted in death (43 and 38). Based on these numbers, the researchers estimate that the Moderna product reduces the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection by a further 21% compared to Pfizer-BioNTech, while the risk of symptomatic infection is 28% lower, by 41. % that of hospitalization, of 27% that of needing intensive care and 9% that of death.
The study does not explain where these differences come from: they could be related to the higher dosage of the Moderna vaccine, to differences in the structure of the lipid droplets in which the constitutive messenger RNA of the vaccine is encapsulated or to the different interval at which the two doses were administered. . In any case, although the differences in percentage terms appear substantial, in absolute terms they are minimal and the researchers invite us to focus on the high efficacy of the two products. “For the individual, the difference in efficacy is imperceptible,” writes New England Journal of Medicine editor Eric J. Rubin in an editorial. “We are fortunate to have such good options. Vaccination with any vaccine is much better than being unprotected; the message is that the best vaccine is the one that is available,” he concludes. (HANDLE).
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