German biochemical company’s vaccine offers 90% protection
The German biochemical company, BioNTech, and Pfizer have announced that their coronavirus vaccine has proven to be 90 percent effective, according to early results from their phase 3 trials.
A vaccine on the horizon
According to a statement from US pharmaceutical firm, Pfizer, and German biochemical firm, BioNTech, their vaccine, which is currently undergoing trials, is 90 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 infections. During the trials, researchers found no serious safety concerns and believe the vaccines immunising effects will not diminish in the long-term. “We should be more optimistic that the immunisation effect can last for a least a year,” said BioNTech CEO, Ugur Sahin.
A vaccine with 90 percent effectiveness is well above the threshold of 50 percent that is required for the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to authorise a vaccine. Thus, the two international companies have announced they would be applying for authorisation from the FDA over the next week.
The vaccine will require two doses that are administered three weeks apart. The trials, which were undertaken in the US, Germany, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil and Argentina, show that 90 percent effectiveness is achieved after the second dose.
Scientists and doctors across the world have been racing to create a vaccine for COVID-19 and the speed of their current efforts is unmatched throughout history. However, researchers warn that more testing and monitoring is going to be needed before a safe and effective vaccine can be achieved.
Over 43.500 people have taken part in the vaccine’s trials since July and while no serious safety concerns have been raised, it is still not possible to find every possible side-effect that could occur to certain people in specific circumstances during the clinical trials. Naor Bar Zeev, deputy director of the International Vaccine Assess Centre, explained that because of this, it is essential to monitor the safety and efficacy of the vaccine after its been distributed to the public. This is sometimes referred to as “Phase 4.”
Pfizer and BioNTech already have a contract worth 1,64 billion euros with the US for 100 million doses of the vaccine, as well as agreements with the EU, UK, Canada and Japan. The two companies expect to produce up to 50 million doses in 2020, enough for 25 million people. 1,3 billion doses are expected to be produced in 2021.