Hopes rise when Pfizer announced that a COVID-19 vaccine it was formulating is 90 percent effective in its phase 3 trial. The vaccine, according to the pharmaceutical company, has exceeded the expectations of experts in terms of performance, and that was exactly what they will need to win the war against the coronavirus that has killed more than a million people and has paralyzed economies.
Pfizer, together with its German partner company BioNTech say they have not encountered any serious safety issues so far and are hoping to apply for the US emergency use authorization by this month, which may increase the possibility of a regulatory decision as early as December. If things go well, the said companies have estimated that they are capable of deploying up to 50 million doses during the remaining months of this year, which is enough to protect 25 million people, and then producing up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021 .
Investors, scientists, and public health officials have welcomed the first successful interim data from a large-scale clinical trial as a turning point that could help end this pandemic once full test results are obtained. “Today is a great day for science and humanity,” said Dr. Albert Bourla, President and CEO of Pfizer. “The first set of results from our phase 3 trial of the Covid-19 vaccine provides initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent Covid-19.”
“We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen.”
Peter Horby, Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases at Oxford University, could not help but express a sigh of relief: “This news made me smile from ear to ear. It is a relief to see such positive results from this vaccine and it bodes well for COVID-19 vaccines in general. Of course we need to see more detail and await the final results, and there is a long, long way to go before vaccines will start to make a real difference, but this feels to me like a watershed moment.”
Pfizer hopes to obtain an emergency use authorization in the US for persons between the ages of 16 and 85. To do so, two months of follow-up safety data will be needed to ensure no side effects arise. It is expected to be available in the third week of November.