"This is a first but critical step as we continue our work to deliver a safe and effective vaccine," Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said

By Benjamin VanHoose
November 09, 2020 08:37 AM
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Pfizer Inc. says early efficacy tests of its coronavirus vaccine shows that it's 90 percent effective.

CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement Monday that the pharmaceutical company and its collaborator BioNTech found in a phase 3 study that the potential COVID-19 vaccine was "found to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection in the first interim efficacy analysis."

"The results demonstrate that our mRNA-based vaccine can help prevent COVID-19 in the majority of people who receive it," said Bourla. "This means we are one step closer to potentially providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global pandemic."

"This is a first but critical step as we continue our work to deliver a safe and effective vaccine," he added.

Bourla went on to say that more data is needed before the company can apply for FDA Emergency Use Authorization, and clinical studies are still ongoing.

Credit: THIBAULT SAVARY/AFP via Getty Images

"We look forward to sharing additional updates in the coming weeks and will continue to work closely with regulatory authorities to provide access to our anticipated vaccine for those who need it most," added Bourla, who thanked the "thousands of people who volunteered to participate in the clinical trial" and the health experts working on "this crucial endeavor."

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"We could not have come this far without the tremendous commitment of everyone involved," he said. "Their dedication and courage are the reasons we continue to believe that science will win."

Last month, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CBS Evening News that that a COVID-19 vaccine is likely on its way, and people will know by November or December if there's a "safe and effective candidate."

"[A vaccine] will likely be [available] within the first quarter of 2021, by let’s say April of 2021," he said at the time. "But that would be predicated on the fact that all of the vaccines that are in clinical trials have proven to be safe and effective."

"We've made an estimate to have about 700 million doses by the end of April," added Fauci. "But that means from all six companies that we're making investments in. That means that all six of those candidates have to have a vaccine that is proven to be safe and effective."

In October, Johnson & Johnson paused their ongoing trials for a COVID-19 vaccine after a participant developed an "unexplained illness."

The company did not say what the participant’s illness was, but explained in a statement that the temporary pause is "not uncommon in clinical trials." During the course of vaccine or drug development, it is common practice to halt trials for an adverse participant reaction to determine if it was caused by the vaccine dose or due to an unrelated issue.

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