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Why the race to find Covid-19 vaccines is far from over

Despite the promising news from Pfizer and Moderna, other efforts – which may be even more effective – continue around the world

While everyone celebrated this month’s news that not one but two experimental vaccines against Covid-19 have proved at least 90% effective at preventing disease in late-stage clinical trials, research into understanding how the Sars-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, interacts with the human immune system never paused.

There are plenty of questions still to answer about the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines: how well will they protect the elderly, for example, and how long for? Which aspects of the immune response that they elicit are protective and which aren’t? Can even better results be achieved, with vaccines that target different parts of the immune system?

The UK government’s joint committee on vaccination and immunisation has published a list of groups of people who will be prioritised to receive a vaccine for Covid-19. The list is:

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