Trial results hailed as a “great day for science and humanity.”
US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech announced the-long-awaited coronavirus vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 among those without evidence of prior infection.
The results from phase three of the clinical trials were conducted by an independent Data Monitoring Committee and the analysis confirmed just 94 COVID-19 infections among the trial’s 43,538 participants.
Pfizer and BioNTech said the case split between vaccinated individuals and those who received a placebo indicated a vaccine efficacy rate of above 90% at seven days after the second dose. Protection from COVID-19 is achieved 28 days after the initial vaccination, which consists of a two-dose schedule.
“The first set of results from our Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19,” said Dr. Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO of Pfizer.
Roughly 42% of the trial’s global participants had racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, Pfizer and BioNTech said, adding there haven’t been any serious safety concerns reported yet.
Pfizer and BioNTech expect to produce up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020, and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.
The companies said they plan to submit data from the full phase three trial, which began on July 27, for scientific peer-review publication.
Qatar had previously signed an agreement with the companies to supply the country with BNT162 mRNA-based candidate vaccine against SARS-CoV-2.
“Our agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech is one of the options to help address the threat of this global pandemic in Qatar, but in the interim period while no approved vaccine is available, I would like to remind people of the need to follow the preventive measures and stay safe until such a vaccine is available,” said Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Chair of the National Health Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of Infectious Diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation.