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Oxford vaccine better suited for Bangladesh

  • Published at 12:38 am November 19th, 2020
AstraZeneca vaccine
File photo: A test tube labelled with the Vaccine is seen in front of AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken on September 9, 2020 Reuters

Pfizer, Moderna vaccines may be unsuitable for countries like Bangladesh, India

While talking about the suitability of several Covid-19 vaccine candidates in development, eminent vaccine scientist Gagandeep Kang of India said the Oxford vaccine may be better compared to the ones being developed by Pfizer or Moderna, for a country like India.

Even though her comments were made keeping India in mind, the conditions she mentioned are applicable for Bangladesh too.

Kang, in an interview with Karan Thapar for The Wire, said the Pfizer vaccine is doubtful to be a solution for India as the country does not have the cold storage facilities needed to store and transport the vaccine at -70° to -80° C. Here, parallels can be drawn between India and Bangladesh as the latter also lacks necessary cold storage facilities.

Moreover, the vaccine being developed by Pfizer has a limited shelf life — as little as one-two days at times.

Meanwhile, the Moderna vaccine needs to be stored at only -20°C and has a shelf life of about 30 days. But the caveat in this case is the price, said the vaccine specialist.

At $37.50 (around Tk3,200) per dose, it is very expensive for countries like India and Bangladesh.

Kang said it is likely that the Oxford vaccine will be a better fit for India. The Oxford vaccine needs to be stored at -2⁰ to -8⁰ — this temperature can be easily achieved by an ordinary refrigerator. And seeing how similar the temperature of the two countries are, this level of temperature requirement can definitely be suitable for Bangladesh too.

Also read - Pfizer says final results show vaccine 95% effective

AstraZeneca, the British pharmaceutical company which is helping manufacture the Oxford vaccine, has partnered with Serum Institute of India to produce one billion doses of the vaccine in India and middle and low-income countries.

According to Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of Serum Institute of India, the cost of the vaccine would be below $13 (Tk1,100), reports The Indian Express.

Considering the two key factors — necessary storage temperature and price, right now it seems that the Oxford vaccine is better suited for the people of Bangladesh compared to the vaccines being developed by either Pfizer or Moderna.

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