Last Thursday (17) it was announced that the immunizing agent developed by German biotechnology company CureVac, which uses the same technology as Moderna and Pfizer, had failed in the third and final stage of testing. The effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine was only 47%. But, after all, what went wrong?
According to a report in the scientific journal Science, the company blames the rapid change in the pandemic virus, but outside researchers blame the vaccine project itself. It turns out that the immune system relies on the competitors’ new mRNA technology, which was 90% effective in their tests.
The company’s CEO announced that several variants of SARS-CoV-2 now circulating may explain the disappointing results, as the vaccine’s mRNA was designed for a version dominant among viruses early in the pandemic, but evolved through multiple mutations.
Experimental scientists sequenced the virus in 124 participants and found 13 different species. Only 1% of those infected had a ‘copy’ of SARS-CoV-2 whose elevated protein matches the mRNA used in the vaccine.
But outside researchers do not believe that the variants fully explain the poor performance of the vaccine in question. They claim that CureVac did not provide any data on the number of patients in its efficacy trial who developed acute illness. Other vaccines continue to prevent most hospitalizations and deaths, even when variants reduce their protection against mild COVID-19.
Additionally, the report indicates that the type of mRNA used by CureVac may impair antibody formation. Another factor the researchers pointed to is the very low vaccine dose. Either way, CureVac says it should wait for the final review of the current efficacy test before making a “strategic change.”
But what does Bill Gates have to do with the vaccine?
What is the relationship, after all, between the former Microsoft CEO and CureVac? The German vaccine was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in addition to signing an agreement to manufacture it at the Tesla plant in Elon Musk. In addition to the two names, CureVac has also received funding from billionaire Dietmar Hopp, co-founder of SAP, a software giant.
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