In the race to produce a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine, two pharmaceutical companies are currently neck and neck approaching the finish line. Pfizer and Moderna are both expected to apply for FDA emergency approval to fast-track their competing vaccines soon—but like everything else in 2020, it hasn’t come without a requisite dose of drama.
On November 9, Pfizer first announced that early results showed its vaccine to be 90% effective, only to be overshadowed by Moderna a week later when the competing pharmaceutical company claimed that its vaccine was proving to be 94.5 percent effective. Just two days later, on November 18, Pfizer doubled back, after having collected additional patient data, proclaiming that its vaccine was now actually 95 percent effective.
It’s worth noting that—while there are several different types of COVID-19 vaccines currently in development—both Pfizer and Moderna have developed genetic vaccines. This means that the vaccines teach human cells to replicate a piece of the coronavirus spike, which then kickstarts the human immune system to ultimately provide immunity.
At any rate, 94.5 and 95 are both pretty good percentage numbers! But because everyone loves a good rivalry, the Coke and Pepsi of the pharmaceutical world quickly devolved into various internet memes and jokes.