Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

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sTeamTraen
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Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by sTeamTraen » Sat Apr 24, 2021 8:07 pm

I have the feeling that the writing is on the wall for the AstraZeneca vaccine, which at one point I imagined would be the default for most people across Europe and the developing world.

The Janssen (J&J) vaccine is based on similar technology and has the same ease of handling and similar (minor) concerns over side effects, but it has the huge advantage of being one-shot, thus eliminating a whole chunk of follow-up logistics.

Meanwhile the mRNA vaccines are knocking it out of the park in terms of acquired immunity (I think I saw 98.5% mentioned in an Israeli study, three weeks or so after the second dose) and can be easily modified for variants. Plus they are being manufactured in huge numbers; Pfizer and Novartis will deliver 50 million more doses than originally promised in Q2.

I wonder if the only advantage left for AZ is the promise to sell it at cost to lower-income countries. But given the costs of Covid, and the growth in the size of the global middle class, I can imagine that even less well-off countries would rather spend $75 on two doses rather than $10.

Denmark has already said "f.ck this, too much hassle" to AZ. Here in the Balearic Islands, we are getting 42.870 doses next week, of which only 2,600 are AZ and 6,250 are Janssen.
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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by bolo » Sat Apr 24, 2021 8:15 pm

Surely the storage temperature requirements for Pfizer and Moderna pretty much rule them out in much of the world, however much they may be better in other ways?

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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by sTeamTraen » Sat Apr 24, 2021 8:28 pm

bolo wrote:
Sat Apr 24, 2021 8:15 pm
Surely the storage temperature requirements for Pfizer and Moderna pretty much rule them out in much of the world, however much they may be better in other ways?
The Janssen vaccine can also be stored in a fridge, so you can take a bunch of doses into a village or small town on a truck, give it to everyone, and forget about it. That's a huge difference. It sells for about $10, versus $2.50 ($5 for two doses) for AZ, so that's an extra $5 per person, but the savings in administrative overhead must be considerable even in places where labour is cheap.

I think there will be quite a lot of politics about this, though. In a sense we in the West are once again getting better technology because we are richer (e.g., in a major Western country there is presumably a freezer capable of going to -80°C in any city of say 50,000 people). If AZ was perceived as being 90% effective vs 95% for Pfizer then those extra 5% might not make a huge difference, but the development and validation of AZ has been characterised by PR blunders and the suspicion that we're not getting the full story, whereas the mRNA vaccines seem to be doing better than even their developers hoped for.
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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by Herainestold » Sat Apr 24, 2021 8:32 pm

bolo wrote:
Sat Apr 24, 2021 8:15 pm
Surely the storage temperature requirements for Pfizer and Moderna pretty much rule them out in much of the world, however much they may be better in other ways?
Yes. We will see the Sputnik vaccine take over that niche from AZ.

I believe America is still sitting on 10s of millions of AZ which is not approved there.
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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by JQH » Sun Apr 25, 2021 1:47 pm

I wonder if it's worth revaccinating people who've had the AZ vaccine.

Which ones are mRNA based?
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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by bob sterman » Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:30 pm

JQH wrote:
Sun Apr 25, 2021 1:47 pm
I wonder if it's worth revaccinating people who've had the AZ vaccine.

Which ones are mRNA based?
Efficacy is good for the AZ vaccine. It's the clot risk that's the problem.

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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by shpalman » Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:57 pm

JQH wrote:
Sun Apr 25, 2021 1:47 pm
I wonder if it's worth revaccinating people who've had the AZ vaccine.

Which ones are mRNA based?
Pfizer (lots in Europe) and Moderna (f.ck all in Europe).

But the priority should still be to vaccinate people who haven't been vaccinated at all yet.
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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by Herainestold » Sun Apr 25, 2021 4:39 pm

shpalman wrote:
Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:57 pm
JQH wrote:
Sun Apr 25, 2021 1:47 pm
I wonder if it's worth revaccinating people who've had the AZ vaccine.

Which ones are mRNA based?
Pfizer (lots in Europe) and Moderna (f.ck all in Europe).

But the priority should still be to vaccinate people who haven't been vaccinated at all yet.
I could see maybe by next year using only mRNA vaccines, but at the present time we need to get every one jabbed with whichever vax we have.
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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by bolo » Sun Apr 25, 2021 6:14 pm

In July (ish) when US vaccination is complete (barring the refusers) the availability of the mRNA options outside the US will likely rise rapidly.

This may get delayed a month or two if the mRNA options get approved here for children.

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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by Herainestold » Sun Apr 25, 2021 6:25 pm

bolo wrote:
Sun Apr 25, 2021 6:14 pm
In July (ish) when US vaccination is complete (barring the refusers) the availability of the mRNA options outside the US will likely rise rapidly.

This may get delayed a month or two if the mRNA options get approved here for children.
The Euro mRNA producers (well, mostly Pfizer) are ramping up too, there will be lots of mRNA vax available by autumn. Trust me, we will still need it by then.
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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by shpalman » Sun Apr 25, 2021 6:28 pm

shpalman wrote:
Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:57 pm
JQH wrote:
Sun Apr 25, 2021 1:47 pm
I wonder if it's worth revaccinating people who've had the AZ vaccine.

Which ones are mRNA based?
Pfizer (lots in Europe) and Moderna (f.ck all in Europe).

But the priority should still be to vaccinate people who haven't been vaccinated at all yet.
However there are so few AstraZeneca doses arriving in Italy that Lombardy (for one) needs to save what it has for second doses. I mean, even with all the restrictions on who the AstraZeneca can be given too, there still aren't enough.
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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by Herainestold » Sun Apr 25, 2021 6:35 pm

shpalman wrote:
Sun Apr 25, 2021 6:28 pm
shpalman wrote:
Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:57 pm
JQH wrote:
Sun Apr 25, 2021 1:47 pm
I wonder if it's worth revaccinating people who've had the AZ vaccine.

Which ones are mRNA based?
Pfizer (lots in Europe) and Moderna (f.ck all in Europe).

But the priority should still be to vaccinate people who haven't been vaccinated at all yet.
However there are so few AstraZeneca doses arriving in Italy that Lombardy (for one) needs to save what it has for second doses. I mean, even with all the restrictions on who the AstraZeneca can be given too, there still aren't enough.
My understanding was that the mRNA vaccines were trickier to manufacture. Yet Pfizer (but not Moderna) has managed to increase production while AZ languishes.
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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by JQH » Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:23 pm

shpalman wrote:
Sun Apr 25, 2021 2:57 pm
JQH wrote:
Sun Apr 25, 2021 1:47 pm
I wonder if it's worth revaccinating people who've had the AZ vaccine.

Which ones are mRNA based?
Pfizer (lots in Europe) and Moderna (f.ck all in Europe).

But the priority should still be to vaccinate people who haven't been vaccinated at all yet.
No argument with that.
And remember that if you botch the exit, the carnival of reaction may be coming to a town near you.

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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by Herainestold » Mon Apr 26, 2021 7:12 pm

Great! I expect much of it will go to India.
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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by bolo » Mon Apr 26, 2021 7:17 pm

Herainestold wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 7:12 pm
Great! I expect much of it will go to India.
Possibly. There was also this White House statement yesterday about Covid-related assistance to India.

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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by sTeamTraen » Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:19 pm

Herainestold wrote:
Sun Apr 25, 2021 6:35 pm
My understanding was that the mRNA vaccines were trickier to manufacture. Yet Pfizer (but not Moderna) has managed to increase production while AZ languishes.
Pfizer is a very big company with plenty of its own production facilities, and presumably contacts to get more (e.g., Novartis has repurposed a factory in Switzerland). I don't know if Moderna had any factories before this started; they struck me as more like ARM for semiconductors, all about the design and getting someone else to do the manufacturing.
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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by sTeamTraen » Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:19 pm

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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by Herainestold » Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:35 pm

sTeamTraen wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:19 pm
Herainestold wrote:
Sun Apr 25, 2021 6:35 pm
My understanding was that the mRNA vaccines were trickier to manufacture. Yet Pfizer (but not Moderna) has managed to increase production while AZ languishes.
Pfizer is a very big company with plenty of its own production facilities, and presumably contacts to get more (e.g., Novartis has repurposed a factory in Switzerland). I don't know if Moderna had any factories before this started; they struck me as more like ARM for semiconductors, all about the design and getting someone else to do the manufacturing.
Couple of pieces on the complexities of making mRNA vaccines.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business ... ds-supply/

https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/a ... ufacturing
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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by bob sterman » Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:54 pm

sTeamTraen wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:19 pm
EU to sue AstraZeneca.
Anyone got any idea what this legal action could actually achieve? E.g. if the EU action was successful? What would success look like? Diversion of doses destined for other countries with contracts (that's not just the UK)? Compensation for EU? Court action can't speed up cell cultures.

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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by sTeamTraen » Mon Apr 26, 2021 11:00 pm

bob sterman wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:54 pm
sTeamTraen wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:19 pm
EU to sue AstraZeneca.
Anyone got any idea what this legal action could actually achieve? E.g. if the EU action was successful? What would success look like? Diversion of doses destined for other countries with contracts (that's not just the UK)? Compensation for EU? Court action can't speed up cell cultures.
The EU runs on laws, so the main thing for them is a need to establish right and wrong. Remedies are secondary, although a large fine might concentrate the minds of future suppliers who could be tempted to sell the same goods to two parties and pretend to have manufacturing difficulties (if that is, indeed, what happened).
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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by Herainestold » Mon Apr 26, 2021 11:24 pm

sTeamTraen wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 11:00 pm
bob sterman wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:54 pm
sTeamTraen wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:19 pm
EU to sue AstraZeneca.
Anyone got any idea what this legal action could actually achieve? E.g. if the EU action was successful? What would success look like? Diversion of doses destined for other countries with contracts (that's not just the UK)? Compensation for EU? Court action can't speed up cell cultures.
The EU runs on laws, so the main thing for them is a need to establish right and wrong. Remedies are secondary, although a large fine might concentrate the minds of future suppliers who could be tempted to sell the same goods to two parties and pretend to have manufacturing difficulties (if that is, indeed, what happened).
If they want more vaccines, they'd be better off to take over AZ' plants, produce it themselves, and throw Pascal Soriot in the slammer. Although they'd need to extradite him from Australia, something Oz might not want to do, considering how Italy nicked AZ doses bound for down under.
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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by Millennie Al » Tue Apr 27, 2021 12:10 am

sTeamTraen wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 11:00 pm
bob sterman wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:54 pm
sTeamTraen wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:19 pm
EU to sue AstraZeneca.
Anyone got any idea what this legal action could actually achieve? E.g. if the EU action was successful? What would success look like? Diversion of doses destined for other countries with contracts (that's not just the UK)? Compensation for EU? Court action can't speed up cell cultures.
The EU runs on laws, so the main thing for them is a need to establish right and wrong. Remedies are secondary, although a large fine might concentrate the minds of future suppliers who could be tempted to sell the same goods to two parties and pretend to have manufacturing difficulties (if that is, indeed, what happened).
Unless the case was clearly made, any retribution could equally mean that no vaccine manufacturer would agree to supply the EU in similar circumstances in future. And regardless of the merits of the case, I suspect that any retribution would mean that AZ never would, since they would conclude that this market is not one they can address - especially as they started off inexperienced.
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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by bolo » Tue Apr 27, 2021 12:12 am

Herainestold wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 11:24 pm
If they want more vaccines, they'd be better off to take over AZ' plants, produce it themselves, and throw Pascal Soriot in the slammer.
This might possibly result in more vaccine doses this time, but it would likely also result in no vaccine manufacturer ever agreeing to sell high profile vaccines to the EU ever again, so in the longer term it wouldn't exactly be constructive.

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Re: Is it all over for the AstraZeneca vaccine?

Post by bolo » Tue Apr 27, 2021 12:16 am

bob sterman wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:54 pm
sTeamTraen wrote:
Mon Apr 26, 2021 8:19 pm
EU to sue AstraZeneca.
Anyone got any idea what this legal action could actually achieve? E.g. if the EU action was successful? What would success look like? Diversion of doses destined for other countries with contracts (that's not just the UK)? Compensation for EU? Court action can't speed up cell cultures.
The cynical view would be that success, from the EU perspective, would look like AZ getting the public blame for the AZ fiasco rather than the EU itself.

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