For likes of India, Pfizer is on vax version requiring simple refrigeration

US Drugmaker Pfizer, which had recently sought emergency use authorization of its coronavirus vaccine in India and whose shot require storage at minus 70 degrees Celsius, has revealed that the company is working on a new formulation which will be able to avoid storage at extreme temperature and can be stored in simple refrigeration.

Pfizer’s mRNA technology-based vaccine has an efficacy of over 90 per cent with a double dose and 67 per cent with a single dose. It, however, requires minus 70 degrees Celsius, which does not match India’s cold storage facilities.

Clarifying on the issue, Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said at a press conference organized by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations: “We are working on a new formulation that will be able to avoid minus 70-degree Celsius temperature and can be stored in simple refrigeration.”

Bourla made the comment when asked, “Are you working on versions of your vaccine that can be stored in less extreme temperature in countries like India?”

He, however, emphasized that the company is currently confident about their ability to distribute the product at minus 70-degree Celsius. Besides this, Bourla charted out a detailed logistical plan and tools to support vaccine storage, temperature monitoring, and transport.

The multinational biopharmaceutical company had sought approval for emergency use authorization of its vaccine candidate in India on December 6 after getting clearance in the UK and Bahrain.

A Subject Expert Committee will take decision in the coming weeks.

To allay the fear of public on the safety of the vaccine, the Chief Executive Officer said: “In this case, the vaccines were developed very fast. What I will tell them that we did not cut corners. We tested this vaccine with the exact same way that we are testing any vaccine. Because of the scrutiny, it was tested with even higher standards.”

On Tuesday, the Union Health Ministry informed that as many as eight Covid-19 vaccine candidates are under different stages of clinical trials which could be ready for authorization in near future. Besides Pfizer, Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India have recently sought emergency use authorization of their vaccine.