Pfizer Develops COVID-19 Vaccine That is 90% Effective, Preliminary Results Show

By Nancy Flory Published on November 9, 2020

Pfizer and partner BioNTech SE have developed a vaccine against COVID-19 that has proven to be over 90% effective in treating participants in their newest study, Fox News reported Monday. Although the results are incomplete, they provide some good news in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. 

Pfizer hopes to as health regulators for permission to sell the vaccine before the end of this month. They are waiting for data that says the vaccine is safe. Health regulators will assess the safety of the vaccine before it is released. 

“Hopefully now we can move on and get this vaccine out there and make sure it’s doing what it’s supposed to do and stop” the virus, said Kathrin Jansen. Jansen is Pfizer’s head of vaccine research and development.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said at least half of the participants must be monitored for two months to see if there are any side effects from the shot. Pfizer will collect at least “two months of safety data” during the month of November. They intend to apply for an emergency authorization afterward. There have been no serious safety issues thus far.

While the study has enrolled almost 44,000 subjects in the U.S. and abroad, the newest results come from only 94 participants in the study. “You never know what the outcome is, but we had a feeling that we did everything we could possibly do,” said Dr. Jansen.

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The companies are using a technology, known as mRNA, which has not been proven. The technology term, mRNA, is short for “molecular couriers called messenger RNA that carry genetic instructions to cells,” according to Fox News. The mRNA tell cells to make a “synthetic version of the spike protein that juts from the surface” of the coronavirus. The protein then prompts the immune system to fight the virus.

Pfizer has provided the results of the study to the FDA. The FDA won’t approve a vaccine unless it is at least 50% effective. The newest results indicate that the vaccine works better than even Pfizer or BioNTech SE expected.

“Today is a great day for science and humanity,” said Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer Chairman and CEO. “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.” He added, “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.”

Pfizer will continue to monitor the subjects in the study for safety and vaccine duration for two years following the subjects’ second dose of the shot.


Nancy Flory is an associate editor at The Stream. You can follow her @NancyFlory3, and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.

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