The pandemic of the new coronavirus brought several scientific challenges. Among them, there are the development of vaccines in record time and the emergence of new variants. What would usually take a decade, was achieved in eleven months by BioNTech/Pfizer, the world's first vaccine authorized for emergency use, according to the Vaccine Tracker. In this scenario, testing remains crucial. The Cube Scan, a solution under development at Radiolife, aims the fast and reliable diagnosis of the disease.
In Brazil, according to information from the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa)three vaccines are currently approved for emergency use. They are: CoronaVac, developed by the pharmaceutical company Sinovac in partnership with Butantan Institute; Covishield, from the pharmaceutical company Serum Institute of India, in partnership with AstraZeneca/Oxford University/Fiocruz and Janssen vaccine. The first two are part of the National Immunization Plan (PNI) that is being carried out in the country. Still according to Anvisa, two vaccines reached the register, which is a definitive authorization: Pfizer and Astrazeneca/Fiocruz. The immunizers approved for emergency use have a temporary validity.
In addition to the global race for a covid-19 vaccine, other unknowns challenge science and hinder the fight against the virus. Recently, the emergence of new variants of Sars-Cov-2 has worried health authorities. The variant B.1.1.7 was identified in England, the P1 appeared in Brazil ("Manaus variant") and the B.1.351, in South Africa.
Efficacy of vaccines
Guidelines from international and national health entities, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and Fiocruz show that there are still many questions to be answered. As for the efficacy of vaccines, the studies required from manufacturers for approval indicate efficiency. According to data from FiocruzOxford/Astrazeneca vaccine shows 76% efficacy already in the first dose (between 22 and 90 days after application), a number that increases to 82.4% after the second dose. For more severe cases of the disease, the efficacy was 100%.
The other vaccine authorized and being applied in Brazil, Coronavac, has efficacy of 78% to 100%, according to data from Instituto Butantan. The effectiveness of 100% is for severe and moderate cases. While the 78% rate refers to mild cases or cases that required outpatient care.
The WHO points out that there are still no conclusive studies on whether vaccines guarantee long-term protection. This is because the vaccines were developed in recent months, so it is still early to know about how long the protection lasts. The WHO also explains that the duration of immunity of those who contracted the infection and recovered is not yet known. Although there are indications that a person is protected for a while, it is not yet known exactly for how long and the level of protection.
PAHO publication also addresses the issue of new variants. According to the entity, the protection of vaccines against the new variants of SARS-CoV-2 continues to be the subject of study. "We will have answers to these and other questions as more studies are conducted in vaccinated populations to determine whether annual or different frequency vaccination is necessary," it said.
For one of Radiolife's founders, Sergio Schirmer, the data available so far on vaccines and variants show that mass testing remains critical. "No vaccine is 100% effective, even old immunizers, for other diseases. We still have no hard data on immunity and new variants keep emerging. So, to stop the spread of the virus through mass testing and isolation of those infected is an important strategy", analyzed Schirmer.
According to Sergio, who is one of the creators of Cube Scansolution under development at Radiolife for diagnosis of covid-19, one of the goals of the equipment is to promote the habit of testing. "The Cube Scan would not be used only in symptomatic cases. The idea is that the test is done before entering an enclosed space", emphasized Schirmer. The Cube Scan is portable and the result comes out in 10 seconds. It could be taken to environments such as schools, airports and events, helping to resume activities safely. Currently, Radiolife is seeking authorization from the competent authorities, such as Anvisa and FDA (Food and Drug Administration). When the authorizations are issued, the sales of the product will begin.
Learn more about Cube Scan: https://radiolife.co/products/cube-scan/
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