Pfizer Inc had on Monday disclosed that its experimental vaccine which it is jointly developing with BioNTech was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 based on initial data from a large study, in the ongoing phase 3 trials.
This is a major victory in the fight against a pandemic that has killed over 1 million people, negatively impacted on the world’s economy and upended daily life.
This disclosure was made in a statement by the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, on Monday, November 9, 2020.
Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE are the first drugmakers to show successful data from a large-scale clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine. The companies said they have so far found no serious safety concerns and expect to seek U.S. emergency use authorization later this month.
If authorized, the number of vaccine doses will initially be limited. Many questions also remain including how long the vaccine will provide protection. However, the news provides hope that other vaccines in development against the novel coronavirus may also prove effective.
Albert Bourla, in his statement, said, “Today is a great day for science and humanity. 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.”
He said that the first set of results from the Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of their vaccine’s ability to prevent Covid-19
Pfizer expects to seek broad U.S. emergency use authorization of the vaccine for people aged 16 to 85. To do so, it will need to have collected two months of safety data on around half of the study’s roughly 44,000 participants, expected in late November.
Bill Gruber, one of Pfizer’s top vaccine scientists, said in an interview, ‘’I’m near ecstatic. This is a great day for public health and for the potential to get us all out of the circumstances we’re now in.”
Pfizer said the interim analysis was conducted after 94 participants in the trial developed COVID-19, examining how many of them received the vaccine versus placebo.