AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial in U.S. remains on hold

Coronavirus vaccine by Pfizer-BioNTech could be available by end of 2020, claims top official

"I can not say what the United States Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) will do, but I think is a likely scenario and we are preparing for it", Bourla said during American channel CBS' "Face the Nation" segment.

Albert Bourla, the head of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which is among the companies developing a coronavirus vaccine, said Sunday there is a "good chance" the company will know whether its vaccine works by the end of October. In August, the companies announced positive results for the Phase 1 trial of their second Covid-19 vaccine candidate called BNT162b2 or B2, revealing that the latest vaccine candidate has fewer side effects than their first.

The World Health Organisation too has taken a cautious approach to timelines surrounding the virus, expecting widespread vaccinations to begin only by mid-2021 and stressing that it would not endorse an unsafe vaccine. Bourla said the decision to increase the number of participants stems from its desire to expand to more vulnerable populations.

If the trials are successful, Pfizer and BioNTech expect to supply 100 million doses of its vaccine globally by 2020.

Bourla acknowledged that if its coronavirus vaccine fails, Pfizer will absorb the financial hit. They want to see how we are growing to progress, what types of moves you are going to do. They want reports. I didn't want to have any of that. I gave them an open chequebook so that they can worry only about scientific challenges, nothing else. "I also wanted to keep Pfizer out of politics, by the way", he said.

He told Hemmer that in the first parts of the clinical trial, the vaccine looked promising and that it produced a "robust immune response in patients" - but that critics have said it may only be 50 percent effective if approved.

Dr Chiu said: "We have evidence that delivering influenza vaccines via a nasal spray can protect people against flu as well as help to reduce the transmission of the disease". But I think it's a likely scenario, and we are preparing for it. "But with SARS-COVID-2, it seems to be a pretty constant", he said.



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