November 9, 2020
A coronavirus vaccine developed by New York City-based pharmaceutical firm Pfizer is more than 90% effective, according to the first look at data from a late-stage U.S. trial involving nearly 44,000 participants, Politico rerports.
An analysis of 94 trial participants who contracted COVID-19 showed that the vaccine was 94% effective, the company and its partner BioNTech of Germany said in a press release on November 9.
The pair added that they expect to apply to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for an emergency-use authorization before the end of the month, after they have collected sufficient data on the vaccine’s safety.
The better-than-expected result is the first Phase III data from any of the four candidates now in the final stage of testing in the United States.
“I can’t imagine better news on the vaccine front,” Walid Gellad, director for the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of Pittsburgh, told Politico. Not only is it highly effective based on the press release, but there were 90 cases so we don’t have to deal with the skeptics about interim analyses, and there appeared to be no safety signals.”
Others noted that the information Pfizer had released was promising but still incomplete. “We should remain a little cautious, said Michael Head, a senior research fellow in Global Health at the University of Southampton in the U.K. “The provisional findings are made available in a press release, and the study is ongoing.”
President Donald Trump, who pushed unsuccessfully for a vaccine by Election Day, cheered the Pfizer result. “STOCK MARKET UP BIG, VACCINE COMING SOON. REPORT 90% EFFECTIVE. SUCH GREAT NEWS!” he wrote on Twitter.
Although Ivanka Trump tried to link the new vaccine to the Administration’s Operation Warp Speed, a top scientist for Pfizer told the New York Times that her company had not partnered with the Trump administration’s program meant to speed vaccine development.
President-elect Joe Biden issued a statement congratulating “the brilliant women and men who helped produce this breakthrough,” but he cautioned that “the end of the battle against COVID-19 is still months away.”
Even if a shot is authorized by late November, it will take many months before vaccination is widespread, Biden noted. “Americans will have to rely on masking, distancing, contact tracing, hand washing, and other measures to keep themselves safe well into next year,” he said.
Research contact: @politico