The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine no longer needs to be kept at ultra-low temperatures, according to new results that will allow distribution to be dramatically expanded to doctors’ clinics, pharmacies and more remote regions.
Stability data, which the companies have submitted to the US regulator, show the shot can be kept at normal medical freezer temperatures of minus 15C° to minus 25C° for up to two weeks, compared with the previous required storage conditions of between minus 60C° and minus 80C°.
Ugur Sahin, BioNTech’s chief executive, said the ability to store the vaccine at higher temperatures would give vaccination centres “greater flexibility”, adding that the company continues to develop new formulations to make the jab “even easier to transport and use”.
The new storage requirements should ease those constraints and make the vaccine more competitive.
Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, based on similar messenger RNA technology, can already be kept at normal refrigerator temperatures of between 2C° and 8C° for 30 days, while another mRNA shot being developed by Germany’s CureVac can be kept at similar temperatures for three months.
The news came as an Israeli study, published in The Lancet on Friday, found that a single shot of the two-dose jab was 85% effective in a further boost for BioNTech/Pfizer’s vaccine.