Scientists are cheering after drugmakers at Pfizer announced that its vaccine for the novel coronavirus just passed another trial, in which it was over 90 percent effective at stopping COVID-19. The news brings hope to many who are fearing the effects of a second wave of the disease, after the first already claimed more than 1.2 million lives across the globe.
According to The New York Times, the company said that the latest trial gave the vaccine to volunteers who had not previously been infected with the disease. No adverse health effects were observed, and the success rate was reportedly around 90 percent. This means that the new shot could be as effective against the coronavirus as previous vaccines were for measles and polio.
In response to the promising results, executives at the New York-based pharmaceutical company have said that they plan to ask the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization of the vaccine later this month. Once given the green-light, the company’s goal will be to manufacture enough doses for 15 to 20 million people by the end of the year.
“This is a historical moment. 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,” explained Kathrin Jansen, a senior vice president and the head of vaccine research and development.
“I think we can see light at the end of the tunnel,” declared Pfizer Chairman and CEO Dr. Albert Bourla, adding that the announcement marks a “a great day for science and humanity.”
“With today’s news, we are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis. We look forward to sharing additional efficacy and safety data generated from thousands of participants in the coming weeks,” he concluded, per CNBC.
That said, some scientists are cautioning that the quest to find a vaccine may not be over just yet. For starters, Pfizer, which developed the vaccine with the German drugmaker BioNTech, released only “sparse details” from its clinical trial.
In addition, some doctors have expressed their fears that a vaccine might not have long-lasting effects. Several studies have suggested the COVID-19 antibodies disappear from the body within weeks of beating the infection. Should this translate to the vaccine, it would mean that individuals would need a new shot every month or so — making the immunization process both more difficult and more logistically demanding. Moreover, the vaccine is already based on a two-dose schedule.