CureVac: Higher effectiveness in younger people

At the beginning of the corona pandemic, hope was placed among other things on the German vaccine manufacturer CureVac – about a year later the result is sobering: the effectiveness of the vaccine is significantly lower than that of other mRNA vaccines.

The CureVac study provides reasons for the low effectiveness of the German mRNA vaccine.

CureVac: This is how the German mRNA vaccine works

While the competing vaccines from BioNTech/Pfizer and  Moderna  convinced with an effectiveness of around 95 percent, the vaccine from CureVac only achieved an effectiveness of around 50 percent. The protection of the corona vaccination only applies to people under the age of 60.

The reason for the low effectiveness of the vaccine could be the spread of the different virus variants. During the CureVac study, the alpha variant, which first appeared in Great Britain, was already dominant in Europe.

Local variants also replaced the original wild type of the virus in other countries where the study was carried out. The most important findings about CureVac are:

  • Vaccination detects  virus variants worse  than the  original wild type.
  • 10,000 people received two doses of vaccine or a  placebo four weeks apart : three quarters of the participants live in Latin America. The rest were included in the study design in Belgium, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.
  • A total of 228 cases of COVID-19 occurred: 83 vaccinees and 145 participants in the placebo group became ill. This gives the vaccine efficacy of 48 percent.
  • In the 18-60 age group  , efficacy is 53 percent:  71 cases occurred in the vaccine group, while 136 cases occurred in the placebo group. The effectiveness in the over 60-year-olds cannot be assessed because the available data are not statistically sufficient.
  • The  vaccine effectiveness against moderate to severe disease progression  is  77 percent.
  • Overall, no hospitalizations or deaths occurred.

CureVac: This is how the vaccine works on virus variants

204 of the 228 diseases are due to different virus variants. 155 people fell ill in Latin America. 92 percent of the diseases in Europe were caused by the alpha variant.

The effect of CureVac against the following variants in the 18 to 60 age group is:

  • Gamma, first occurring in Brazil: 67 percent
  • Alpha, dominant variant in UK and Europe: 55 percent
  • Lambda, occurred in South America: 53 percent

Based on the data so far, the European  Medicines Agency could  grant approval for CureVac. Severe complications and side effects that could prevent approval have not occurred to date.

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