Pfizer, the American multinational pharmaceutical corporation, and German biotechnology company BioNTech, Pfizer’s partner, on Wednesday, announced the second batch of the temporary results, in which they claimed that their COVID-19 vaccine prototype was found to be “95 per cent effective” in the final analysis of the Phase 3 trial and also protects the most vulnerable people in older age groups from the risk of falling prey to the virus.
Pfizer and BioNTech also said that they have the required two-months of safety data and would apply for emergency US authorization within days.
In a statement, Pfizer said, “Primary efficacy analysis demonstrates BNT162b2 to be 95 per cent effective against Covid-19 beginning 28 days after the first dose; 170 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were evaluated, with 162 observed in the placebo group versus 8 in the vaccine group.”
The Wednesday’s announcement comes after Pfizer’s had, on November 9, announced that its vaccine was 90 per cent effective based on the first results on less than 100 infections drawn from a pool of more than 43,000 volunteers.
As of the latest developments, Pfizer now has 170 infections on which its data is based. Only eight infections were recorded among volunteers who got the vaccine, while only one got a severe disease.
The company said that no serious side effects were reported and the most common complaint was of fatigue after the second vaccine dose, affecting about 4 per cent of the participants who got the shot.
The partners, Pfizer-BioNTech, use the ‘mRNA’ technology which means the vaccine is not embedded with the virus itself. It means there is no risk of catching Covid-19 from the shot. The vaccine is infused with a piece of genetic code that trains our immune system to recognise the spike protein on the surface of the virus – a lethal signature of coronavirus.
It has been reported that Pfizer-BioNTech plans to apply within days to US regulators for emergency use approval. They expect to produce a total of 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.
On 27 October, the Pfizer executives had expressed calculated optimism over the prospect of providing a coronavirus vaccine in 2020.
Albert Bourla, the Pfizer Chief Executive had said that the company could supply about 40 million doses in the United States in 2020 if clinical testing proceeds as expected and regulators approve a vaccine.
“If all goes well, we will be ready to distribute an initial number of doses,” Bourla had said.
He had also pointed to a US government contract for Pfizer to supply 40 million doses by the year-end and 100 million doses by March 2021.
(With agency inputs)