Leaping ahead of the world race for a vaccine against the coronavirus plague, Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Monday, Nov. 9, trial results that split between vaccinated individuals and those given a placebo, indicating a vaccine efficacy rate of above 90pc . Therefore, their vaccine achieves protection from covid-19, which has killed more than 1.2 million victims worldwide, 28 days after the initial two-dose vaccine, among those without prior infection.
Scientists were hoping for a vaccine that is at least 75pc effective, while White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that a vaccine that is 50pc or 60pc effective would be acceptable.
Dr. Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, hailed the trial results as a “great day for science and humanity if you count the impact this will have in public health, global economy.”
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 1,492 points on the news, while airline and cruise company stocks jumped. Both industries are heavily impacted by the global health crisis.
Pfizer’s results were based on the first interim efficacy analysis conducted by an external and independent Data Monitoring Committee from the phase three clinical study. The independent group of experts oversees US clinical trials to ensure the safety of participants. The analysis evaluated 94 confirmed Covid-19 infections among the trial’s 43,538 participants.
“The first set of results from our Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19,” Bourla said in a statement.
The two companies will submit for emergency use authorization to the US Food and Drug Administration soon after they have two months of data, which is currently on track for the third week of November.
Based on current projections, Pfizer and BioNTech expect to produce up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020, and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021. The vaccine requires two doses per person. In July, the companies reached a nearly $2 bn agreement with the US government to supply 100 m doses. A logistical difficulty is that the vaccine must be kept refrigerated at minus 70 degrees. The two companies have begun manufacturing special refrigeration boxes for its transport. Still to be researched is for how long the vaccine is effective.