Companies world over have been working towards the development of a Covid-19 vaccine. The pandemic has inevitably caused a hindrance in the lives of people world over, with businesses and leisure activities coming to a standstill. As most countries witness a second wave of the deadly disease, there now seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel following Pfizer and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine, which has been found to be more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19. Calling it a “significant step forward,” the companies revealed the vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no safety concerns have been raised as yet. They are now gripped with plans to apply for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of November.
There are around a dozen vaccines that have reached the final stages of testing, but this is the first to show any results. Monday’s announcement led to stock markets surging to new records and political leaders welcoming the late-stage trial results with open arms. The drugmakers’ trial involves some 44,000 people in six countries, half of whom have been administered with the vaccine, while the other half were given a placebo – a treatment designed to have no effect.
Monday’s data is from an interim analysis that was conducted after 94 participants in the continuing trial developed COVID-19. Fewer than nine of them who caught the disease had been given the vaccine.
To confirm the efficacy rate, Pfizer said it would continue its trial until there were 164 COVID-19 cases among volunteers, a number that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mentioned is enough to tell how well the vaccine is working. To save time, the companies began manufacturing the vaccine before they knew whether it would be effective. They now expect to produce up to 50 million doses, or enough to protect 25 million people, this year. Pfizer said it expects to produce up to 1.3 billion doses of the vaccine in 2021.