A vaccine for COVID seems to be (almost) here… or is it? What’s hype/ what’s real beyond the headlines (and beyond the press release), when it comes to the announcement last week from Pfizer and BioNTech that their vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 -- and relatedly, the most recent news around Moderna's vaccine candidate?
Of course, this was just the first interim efficacy analysis — so how close or far are we? What’s the significance of the readout and case numbers? How do we put all this in context of all the other (458!) programs in development? And how much should/ shouldn’t we read into the news, given the buzzy excitement and penchant for evaluating "science via press release"? a16z bio general partners Vineeta Agarwala and Jorge Conde recently broke it all down in conversation with Sonal Chokshi on our show 16 Minutes: the math, the science, and the practical considerations — from “vaccine efficacy” vs. efficiency, from cold chains to distribution, from patients to the system… as well as why mRNA matters in the present future of vaccines.