The CEO of the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced the success of a new highly efficient vaccine against Covid-19. Given recent data analysis, the vaccine has a success rate of about 90%. The efficiency of the vaccine was unexpected. Hopefully, millions of people worldwide will soon benefit from this vaccine.
The interim analysis inspected the first 94 confirmed cases of Covid-19. The cases were among the 43,000 volunteers who either took two doses of the vaccine or a placebo. There were fewer than 10% infection cases among the people who had taken the vaccine. Furthermore, over 90% of the infection cases were in the people who had taken the placebo. The final goal of the trial is to reach 164 confirmed cases of infection.
The US FDA expects at least 50% efficacy from any coronavirus vaccine. As such, the results are very promising. In an interview with CNN, Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, called the vaccine “the greatest medical advance in the world’s last hundred years”.
Pfizer plans to seek emergency use authorization from the FDA as soon as possible. They have to keep an eye on the volunteers for 2 months after the second dose of vaccine. Pfizer anticipates reaching the marker by the third week of November.
The new technology used in the vaccine
The Pfizer vaccine uses a new type of technology called messenger RNA, or mRNA, to produce stronger immune response. This kind of vaccine uses genetic material called mRNA to make cells produce parts of protein that look like pieces of a virus. The immune system begins to recognize and attack these parts. In theory, that would make the immune system react quickly to a real infection.
Pfizer will soon determine whether the vaccine protects against severe Covid-19 illness or not. It is unknown how long the protection actually lasts, even in people who had been infected with Covid-19 before. It is very likely that patients will have to get periodical vaccinations. Bourla explained that was the reason for mRNA technology. It can be safely used over and over again without health risks to the patient.
Worldwide reach of the vaccine
Bourla told the CNN that Pfizer expects to have 50 million vaccine doses worldwide this year. For 2021 the figures look even more surprising. 1.3 billion vaccines will be distributed next year.
Bourla explained they had two different manufacturing lines. One manufacturing line is in the US, which will produce vaccines for Americans. It will be free for all Americans. The other one is in Europe, which will also produce vaccines for the rest of the world.
“We have already signed contracts with multiple governments in the world and they have placed orders,” Bourla said. However, Pfizer will have to distribute vaccine itself. The federal government has invested $1.95 billion in the vaccine to help manufacture it. It isn’t helping to test the vaccine.
Both president-elect Joe Biden and president Donald Trump were elated upon hearing of the great news. Bourla remarked that the election was simply an artificial timeline for them. They shared the amazing discovery as soon as they learned about it.