COVID: McKinsey report says…

Progress has instilled hope that vaccines may, indeed, save the world.

McKinsey just released a COVID update that “reviewed the initial results from clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines and explored several remaining uncertainties”, including:

  • How many doses will we have and by when?
  • How will the logistics work for distribution and administration?
  • And, critically, will consumers agree to be vaccinated?

I thought the article was concisely informative and readable.

Here are my notes from the article…


Overview of Candidate Vaccines

> Specific ranges of efficacy vary among the vaccine candidates, but each has demonstrated an efficacy of at least 85 percent against severe disease.

Note: Moderna and J&J scored 100% effectiveness against hospitalization and deaths in their clinical trials.


> None of the leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates reported serious side effects during clinical trials

> It remains to be seen how long the protection from COVID-19 achieved by the vaccines will last.

> it isn’t known whether the efficacy will be comparable in children younger than the age of 18 years.

> Multiple vaccine manufacturers have reported preliminary data showing a severalfold reduction in antibody neutralization potency against the South African COVID variant

> Manufacturers have already announced new development plans in response to emerging variants.

These include booster doses, new stand-alone vaccines matched to the new variants, and multivalent vaccines designed to confer immunity to multiple strains in one product.


Vaccine Availability

> In the first half of 2021, the United States is likely to have around 400 million doses of the Moderna and the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccines, which is enough to vaccinate 200 million people with the necessary 2 doses each.

J&J’s original commitment is 100 million doses in the first half of 2021.

Since J&J only requires 1 shot, that’s an additional 100 million people getting full doses of vaccine.

> If all COVID-19-vaccine innovators are successful in clinical trials, and if manufacturing commitments to scale up hold true, there may be enough capacity to vaccinate nearly 80 percent of the global population against COVID-19.

> Accordingly, global attention is already shifting to the challenges associated with vaccine rollout and consumer adoption


Vaccine Programs’ Critical Success Factors

McKinsey has identified several critical elements of an effective vaccination program:

  • Available. Is there be enough of the vaccine to reach herd immunity on a timely basis?
  • Administrable. Who  gets the vaccine first, and where will it be available?
  • Accessible. How are the logistics of the vaccine managed, particularly if it has complex, coldchain requirements?
  •  Acceptable. Will consumers (especially those at highest risk of contracting a severe form of the disease) have trust and conviction to get vaccinated?

Note: Consumer-sentiment surveys in the United States show that around 100 million Americans don’t sufficiently trust the vaccine-development process and are uncertain or ambivalent about getting vaccinated in the first six months following initial availability.

  • Affordable. Are the costs of vaccine and administration amenable to both payers (public/ government and private) and consumers?
  • Accountable. Is there a closed-loop surveillance system look like to build more confidence in the long-term safety of the vaccine?



> While COVID-19 vaccines will almost certainly be one of the most critical tools for moving the world toward an epidemiological end to the pandemic, they will likely not be the only ones: diagnostics, antibody medicines, and other therapeutics will be important complements.

> In clinical trials, Eli Lilly’s antibody medicine bamlanivimab demonstrated a 72% reduction in the rate of hospitalizations and emergency department visits.

> In clinical trials, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ antibody cocktail demonstrated a tenfold reduction in viral load, on average, and a 57% reduction in COVID-19-related medical visits.

>Those and other antibody medicines in development are part of a growing assortment of treatments and protocols related to COVID-19 that, collectively, could reduce mortality among hospitalized patients by between 18% and 30%.

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