A vaccine against Covid-19 is in sight, with the announcement of the first interim results in large-scale trials showing the Pfizer/BioNTech candidate is 90% effective, according to the manufacturers, whose analysis shows a much better performance than most experts had hoped for.
The high percentage of those protected makes the findings compelling. Regulators have said they would approve a vaccine that is just 50% effective – protecting half those who get it. The company says there have been no serious side-effects.
“Today is a great day for science and humanity. 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,” said Dr Albert Bourla, the Pfizer chairman and CEO.
“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.”
The trial will continue until there have been 164 confirmed cases so there is potential for the efficacy rate to change, but a finding that 90% of infections were prevented will excite politicians and public health leaders and brings into view a potential end to the pandemic.
The phase 3 trials have involved more than 43,000 people. People from black and minority ethnic backgrounds appear to have been as well protected as everyone else, the company says.
Gathering the required safety data will take until the third week of November, says the company. The dossier will then be submitted to the regulators for approval. Speedy licensing could mean the first doses being given to healthcare workers by the end of the year.
This content was originally published here.