Vials with a sticker reading, "COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a Pfizer logo. Reuters
Taking a big jump towards delivering an effective vaccine to fight COVID-19 pandemic, US-based pharmaceutical major Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech on Monday said that their vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 in first interim analysis of data from late stage Phase-3 trial.
Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE are the first drugmakers to show successful data from a large-scale clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine.
Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla called the development "a great day for science and humanity."
A volunteer receives an injection from a medical worker for a trial against the coronavirus. Reuters
Health experts said Pfizer's results were positive for all COVID-19 vaccines currently in development since they show the shots are going after the right target and are a proof of concept that the disease can be halted with vaccination.
According to preliminary findings, protection in patients was achieved seven days after the second of two doses, and 28 days after the first.
The companies said they expect to supply up to 50 million vaccine doses globally in 2020, and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.
"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," Albert Bourla said in a statement.
"We are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis," he said. "We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most."
Seeking emergency use authorisation
Across much of the globe, COVID-19 infections rates are hitting record highs, with hospital intensive care units filling up and death tolls mounting.
US biotech firm Moderna, several state-run Chinese labs, and a European project led by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca are also thought to be closing in on potentially viable vaccines.
Pfizer signs are seen at the third China International Import Expo in Shanghai. Reuters
Two Russian COVID-19 vaccines have been registered for use even before clinical trials were completed, but have not been widely accepted outside of Russia.
The Phase 3 clinical trial — the final stage — of the new vaccine, BNT162b2, began in late July and has enrolled 43,538 participants to date, 90 per cent of whom have received a second dose of the vaccine candidate as of Nov.8.
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 Authorisation, which it expects by the third week in November.
The vaccine, called AZD1222, has been described by the World Health Organisation's chief scientist as the leading candidate in a global race to halt a pandemic that has claimed more than 600,000 lives.
More than 8.53 million people have been reported infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 453,834 have died, a Reuters tally showed as of 1326 GMT on Friday.
Preliminary projections make the availability of one or several vaccines seem possible by autumn 2020," the Robert Koch Institute said in a statement on its website, citing a global effort to bring immunisations to market.
Shortages of critical equipment led to fierce competition among buyers from Europe, the US and elsewhere. A regional leader in Paris described the scramble to find masks a “worldwide treasure hunt.” Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that New York could run out of ventilators in six days.
Elbrus, a dormant volcano in Russia's North Caucasus region, is the highest mountain in Europe with 5,642 metres (18,510 feet) and is experiencing a national tourism boom due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sheikh Saud said on Instagram, “As the early morning sun rises, I photograph and contemplate this enchanting scene created by Almighty God near the summit of Jebel Al Sahab in Ras Al Khaimah.
US police announced that one person was killed and 12 others were injured, when an attacker opened fire at a store in the suburb of Collierville, Tennessee. The shooter was found to have committed suicide.