Personal Health

The race to the vaccine: It’s about people’s lives – and a lot of money

It is the big question in the Corona of a pandemic when a vaccine on the market that can protect billions of people against the disease? And which pharmaceutical company makes the breakthrough? It’s about people’s lives, a lot of money and the struggle to find a lead: Which country first gets the vaccine? Without a means of everyday life with full of pubs and Clubs, football stadiums or large concerts is likely to be a long time is unthinkable. “Only the vaccine is at the end of the solution to the problem,” said recently the President of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Klaus Cichutek.

Long ago a race to a Corona vaccine is in the pharmaceutical industry in the Outlands. Worldwide there are, according to the Association of research-based pharmaceutical companies (vfa), more than 120 vaccine projects, from small firms such as Biontech from Mainz or Curevac in Tübingen to corporations such as Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline. Vfa-President Han Steutel expected that in 2021 will be vaccinated on a global scale, and many providers at the same time or in quick succession of vaccines on the market.

“There has never been a concerted action of so many research-based pharmaceutical companies,” says Thilo Kaltenbach, a health expert at the strategy consultancy Roland Berger. “It is a head-to-head race.” The interest of the policy was immense: “Any government is in concern, you might be supplied.”

When the Coronavirus vaccine?

Kaltenbach is optimistic that by the end of the year a vaccine against the Corona pathogen, Sars-CoV-2 could be. At the earliest in the spring could then be vaccinated. The first clinical study in Germany Biontech in healthy patients, starting from the end of June, data could be available. In the case of an authorisation, you could make with the US Partner Pfizer until the end of the year millions of doses of the Vaccine ready, says Biontech-in-chief Ugur Sahin. At Curevac, according to co-owner Dietmar Hopp clinical Tests could begin in “early summer”. “We are in the position to deliver the vaccine in the autumn.”

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But such plans are ambitious. A few years ago was estimated for the development of a vaccine for a period of 15 to 20 years. New, modern technologies can accelerate the process, but the safety of the drug must be confirmed – as far as possible without side effects.

After all, Europe has good conditions: The large Western vaccine companies have 80 percent of their world production. Only a few Pharma companies such as Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Merck & Co dominate the lucrative market with vaccines.

Olaf Tölke, pharmaceutical expert at the Rating Agency Scope, does not believe that this year is a vaccine against the Coronavirus is present. The research is expensive, with error rates of 95 percent. Tölke sees the French group Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline of the UK in a good Position. The two largest vaccine specialists in Europe aim to jointly provide a means for the second half of the year 2021. “It’s hard to believe that small firms are faster.”

A vaccine is found, could provide drug authorities have relatively quickly a admission, says consultant Kaltenbach. “The issue is a priority for all authorities.” However, even then, a vaccine must be distributed to billions of people – a huge task, says the world health organization.

There is ample economic and ethical issues

In addition, national disputes to the first access threaten. A taste of Sanofi was recently. According to an Interview of General Director Paul Hudson, the largest advance order gave to US as a financing partner, beat the waves are high. In the face of protests from the French government, Sanofi made it clear that a vaccine would be available. “Equal access for all to the vaccine is non-negotiable,” said French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe. President and Emmanuel Macron called for a multilateral action in the distribution.

Others warn, a Corona vaccine should not only be for the Rich. More than 140 presidents, Ex-politicians and former high level UN officials called for recently the free distribution of medicines or vaccines. “No one should be sent in the case of vaccinations, because of his place of residence or income to the end of the queue,” said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Here are the interests of listed pharmaceutical companies, and ethical issues collide. The development of a vaccine costs hundreds of millions of Euro, estimates, Scope-expert Tölke. “The company will bear the risk to get in the race with the competition to be late.” Also be conceivable that a Corona vaccine 2021 was even asked so if the pandemic is then overcome.

The President of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute, Cichutek, believes that there will be a prioritization of well-being. Some people would first have to be vaccinated – for example, medical staff or people, where it curves to serious illness could come.

But all Promote coordinated actions Despite Rich countries such as the USA and European countries are likely to come before the poorer countries to the train. At the end there should be a balance between economic and ethical questions. “Since billions of people could be vaccinated against the Coronavirus, does not have to be the Mediterranean so expensive”, says Tölke. Nevertheless, a vaccine would be for the pharmaceutical industry is a lucrative business. “If you are the first with a vaccine, can hope for billions in profits. The whole world will pounce on it.”

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