Moderna and Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine candidates require ultra-low temperatures, raising questions about storage and distribution


The COVID-19 vaccine candidates developed by Moderna Inc. and BioNTech and Pfizer Inc. will require strict refrigeration standards, which could hamper their distribution to the hundreds of millions of Americans who expect to receive them.
Actions of Modern MRNA,
were down 3.6% in trading on Thursday, following a rally Wednesday after the company disclosed that people over the age of 55 who took part in the Phase 1 trial demonstrated titles neutralizing antibodies. Pfizer PFE,
the stock was down 0.5% on Thursday, while BioNTech BNTX,
fell 4.3%.

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Executives from Moderna and Pfizer separately told the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Wednesday that mRNA-1273, which is Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine candidate, requires storage temperature. negative 4 degrees Fahrenheit. BioNTech and Pfizer candidates, BN1162b2 and BNT162b2, should be stored at a negative temperature of 94 degrees Fahrenheit.

“These storage conditions would make the traditional administration of offices or pharmacies very difficult,” SVB Leerink analysts wrote Thursday in a note to investors. “These conditions could be met in tertiary hospitals and laboratories and could be factored into intensive one-day immunization events at these sites, but this would still only cover a fraction of the healthy population.”
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Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they were aware of the problem.
Dr Kathleen Dooling, a physician in the agency’s viral disease division, said on Wednesday that the storage, distribution and handling requirements of these vaccines “will make storage and administration very difficult for community clinics and clinics. local pharmacies. She also noted that most vaccines will need to be “administered at centralized sites with adequate equipment and high throughput.”
Pfizer will have to use ultra-low temperature freezers and thermal storage for shippers for its COVID-19 vaccine candidates, according to comments from Dr. Nicholas Kitchin, senior director of Pfizer’s vaccine research and clinical development group.
The vaccines developed by Moderna, BioNTech and Pfizer are mRNA vaccines; however, other types of vaccines require less stringent storage rules. Concerns about difficulties in storing and shipping COVID-19 mRNA vaccines to hundreds of millions of people, analysts say, could put the makers of these candidates at a disadvantage. It can also separate Moderna’s vaccine from those under development by BioNTech and Pfizer.
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There are about a half-dozen COVID-19 vaccine candidates undergoing clinical trials in the United States. However, not all are mRNA vaccines. The vaccine under development by AstraZeneca AZN,
and the University of Oxford is a recombinant viral vector vaccine, for example, while the INO of Inovio Pharmaceutical Inc.,
candidate is DNA-based.
“Investors are increasingly looking to the storage and delivery conditions of candidate vaccines as they consider competitive positioning,” SVB Leerink’s Mani Faroohor said in a separate note to investors.
Year-to-date, Moderna shares have climbed 244.5%, BioNTech shares have gained 91.9% and Pfizer shares are down 3.3%. The S&P 500 SPX,
+ 0,51%
is up 7.7% over the year.


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