Pfizer announced positive early results from its coronavirus vaccine trial
Drugmaker Pfizer said Monday an early look at data from its coronavirus vaccine shows it is more than 90% effective — a much better than expected efficacy if the trend continues.
The so-called interim analysis looked at the first 94 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among the more than 43,000 volunteers who got either two doses of the vaccine or a placebo. It found that fewer than 10% of infections were in participants who had been given the vaccine.
More than 90% of the cases were in people who had been given a placebo.
Pfizer said that the vaccine provided protection seven days after the second dose and 28 days after the initial dose of the vaccine. The final goal of the trial is to reach 164 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection.
The Food and Drug Administration set a minimum effectiveness bar at 50%.
This is the first COVID-19 vaccine in development to have data showing that it exceeded that mark.
Pfizer plans to ask the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization of the two-dose vaccine later this month, after it has collected the recommended two months of safety data. By the end of the year it will have manufactured enough doses to immunize 15 to 20 million people, company executives have said.
“This is a historical moment,” Kathrin Jansen, a senior vice president and the head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer, said in an interview. “This was a devastating situation, a pandemic, and we have embarked on a path and a goal that nobody ever has achieved — to come up with a vaccine within a year.”
“The results are really quite good, I mean extraordinary,” said Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, adding that the results might bode well for a vaccine being developed by biotech firm Moderna and his institute that uses a similar technology, “which gives you hope we might even have two vaccines.”
Fauci said he had spoken with Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla about the results, but had not yet reviewed the individual data.