The drug company Pfizer has announced its coronavirus vaccine has 90 per cent efficacy against COVID-19. "The United States and some other regulators are following that guideline â€" which means there must be at least twice as many infections among volunteers who received a placebo as among those in the vaccine group. Pfizer said it is gathering two months of safety data following the final dose - a requirement of the US Food and Drug Administration - to qualify for Emergency Use Authorization, which it expects by the third week in November.
The companies, the first drugmakers to show successful data from a large-scale clinical trial, said they had found no serious safety concerns so far, and expect to seek US emergency use authorization later this month. If all goes well, the company has said it could make enough doses to immunize up to 20 million people by the year's end.
One key thing these interim results don't tell us is how long protection lasts.
Additional data from their ongoing Phase 3 trials could impact the final results, though the news is a major signal that the fast-tracked development of a coronavirus vaccine might succeed.
Pfizer is one of several companies working on a vaccine for COVID-19. "This is a victory for innovation, science and a global collaborative effort", said Professor Ugur Sahin, BioNTech Co-founder and CEO.
As of mid-October, the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified 42 "candidate vaccines" at the stage of clinical trials, up from 11 in mid-June. Osterholm has been named a member of President-elect Joe Biden's Transition Covid-19 Advisory Board. Continuing when things are futile is a waste of resources - and in some cases unethical.
Eleanor Riley, professor of immunology and infectious disease at the University of Edinburgh, said: "At face value, this is exceptionally good news: a vaccine that is 90% effective at preventing symptomatic cases of Covid-19 and with millions of doses available by the end of the year". Pfizer's vaccine requires two shots, which need to be taken 28 days apart. "If that fails, it doesn't matter how effective this vaccine is, we won't deploy it".
No actual virus is needed to create an mRNA vaccine.