A coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and German biotechnology firm BioNTech was found to be more than 90 percent effective at preventing infection. This is according to clinical results released by the company Monday.
It is important to note though, that findings are preliminary. But, the Pfizer-led study indicates a far higher success rate than many experts had expected. People who received two doses as part of the trial saw 90 percent fewer symptomatic cases of Covid-19 than participants who were given a placebo.
“Today is a great day for science and humanity,” Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.
But this does not mean a vaccine will be immediately available.
Pfizer said it would not apply to the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorisation until it had two months’ worth of safety data. This it said will likely not come until the third week of November.
And even if approved, rolling out the vaccine worldwide will be a great logistical challenge. Because this vaccine must be kept at super-cold temperatures, meaning distribution to remote parts of the world will be difficult.
Pfizer said that based on current projections it expects to produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.