According to the latest information from Pfizer, the preliminary COVID-19 vaccine data suggests the vaccine may be 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19. The company is on track by the end of this month to file an emergency use application with U.S. regulators. This vaccine is among the seven vaccines Canada has pre-ordered.
However, this announcement doesn’t mean the vaccine is coming: Interim analysis from an independent data monitoring panel looked at 94 infections recorded so far in a study that enrolled nearly 44,000 people in the United States and five other countries.
Pfizer did not provide any further details about those cases and warned the initial efficacy rates could change by the time the study ends. According to the Associated Press, even revealing such early data is highly unusual.
Dr. Bill Gruber, Pfizer’s senior vice president of clinical development, told The Associated Press: “We’re in a position potentially to be able to offer some hope. We’re very encouraged.”
The authorities have stressed that it is unlikely that the vaccine will arrive by the end of the year and that the initial supply will be limited.
Both US President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden (who has been declared President elected by the media) commented on news from Pfizer earlier today. [Note, the results of the US presidential election are currently in dispute, the results of the US presidential election will be determined according to US law and process]
President Trump praised the development of Twitter and celebrated the subsequent rise in shares.
Biden welcomes the initial results with enthusiasm but warns that widespread vaccination is still months away and Americans need to continue wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the announcement was “very encouraging.”
“We expect a vaccine to come out early next year. We’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said during a press conference. Canada has an agreement with Pfizer for at least 20 million doses of the vaccine.
The injections developed by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech are among the 10 vaccine candidates that could be tested at end-stage worldwide – four of which have so far been studied in the US. Another US company, Moderna, also said it hopes to be able to apply to the FDA Food and Drug Administration later this month.
Volunteers in the end-stage study and researchers do not know who received the real vaccine or a placebo. But a week after receiving a second dose, Pfizer’s study began to count the number of people who developed COVID-19 symptoms and were confirmed to have a coronavirus.
Since the research is not over, Gruber cannot say how many people in each group got the infection.
Pfizer did not analyze exactly how many of those vaccinated became ill. An efficacy of 90% implies that no more than eight out of 94 received two injections about three weeks apart.
Pfizer has no plans to stop the study until it has recorded 164 infections among all the volunteers, a number that FDA has agreed to be enough to indicate how well the vaccine is working. The agency has made it clear that any vaccine must be at least 50% effective.
The results have not been reviewed by outside experts or published in the medical journal. The vaccine developer doesn’t share publicly details about how the vaccine works.
Pfizer says its data will be validated by industry experts once the results from the entire testing process are available.
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