The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Pfizer's (NYSE:PFE) coronavirus vaccine candidate Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) last week. On Dec. 17, the FDA will meet with its vaccine advisory committee to discuss Moderna's (NASDAQ:MRNA) request for an EUA. In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on Dec. 11, 2020, Healthcare and Cannabis Bureau Chief Corinne Cardina and Fool.com contributor Adria Cimino discuss what Pfizer's authorization means for Moderna's vaccine candidate.
Corinne Cardina: The next upcoming catalysts in this regulatory landscape in the US is actually next week. They are going to reconvene this advisory committee to look at Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine candidate. It takes the same kind of mRNA approach. Do you think that the news from yesterday and today is a positive sign that the decision will also be affirmative for the EUA for Moderna? Are there any major differences between what's known about the Pfizer/BioNTech candidate and Moderna's?
Adria Cimino: This is absolutely good news for Moderna. In fact, I would think that folks over at Moderna were probably watching yesterday just as intently as the Pfizer people were watching. Because both vaccines are based on mRNA technology and this is so new. The idea that one of them is getting authorization is really great news for the other one. Basically, this works differently than a traditional vaccine where a weakened version of the virus is introduced into the body. In this case, it's the mRNA, instructs the body to make protein from the virus, and then body will build up the antibodies to fight against it. This is a whole new way of doing things, and the fact that one of these companies is being successful so far is really good news for the other one. As for the differences between the two vaccines, for the moment the one big thing people have been focused on has to do with the temperatures. Now Pfizer's vaccine, Pfizer faces the challenge of the ultra-low temperature. That makes it more complicated for the transport and storage of the vaccine, whereas Moderna came out with some really good news rather recently saying that theirs could be stored in refrigerated temperatures -- like your refrigerator -- that temperature for as long as a month. That's pretty impressive. And also Moderna's could be kept at room temperature for a day. Those are two key points that are pretty positive and a bit different than Pfizer. Finally, as far as the age groups in the Pfizer trial, they did include that younger age group, the 16-17-year-olds, and Moderna didn't. Moderna started at age 18. However, Moderna just announced the other day that they are enrolling younger people -- 12 to 17, I believe -- in another separate trial and they're going to go for those teenage groups in the coming months.
Cardina: Yeah, that's something we still definitely need a lot more data about -- the adolescent age group and eventually the pediatric, the younger children, because kids need to get back to school soon. I think a lot of us feel that. [laughs]