Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine 95% effective in final trial

BioNTech/Pfizer to seek emergency approval for coronavirus vaccine within days

Drugmaker Pfizer has provided updated analysis around its COVID-19 vaccine Phase 3 clinical trial data, saying that in the final result of its analysis of the 44,000-participant trial, its COVID-19 vaccine candidate proved 95% percent effective.

The vaccine's efficacy was found to be consistent across different ages and ethnicities - a promising sign given the disease has disproportionately hurt the elderly and certain groups including Black people.

The companies said they'll also submit an application for emergency authorization with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other worldwide regulators in the same time frame. Conditional approval in the European Union could come in the second half of December, Sahin added.

"If all goes well I could imagine that we gain approval in the second half of December and start deliveries before Christmas, but really only if all goes positively", he said.

Ontario expects to receive a combined 2.4 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines during the first three months of 2021 with more to follow after that, Health Minister Christine Elliott says.

In the latest analysis, the companies looked into the confirmed COVID-19 cases of 170 study participants, eight of whom had been vaccinated while 162 had received dummy shots.

Pfizer said it has developed specially designed shipping containers that use dry ice to keep the temperature around -70 C. The containers can also be used as storage for 15 days, if the dry ice is refreshed. This is a big deal because other vaccines have been known to be less effective among older people, who are most at risk from getting seriously ill from Covid-19.

Due to the fact that recipients of both vaccines will require two doses 21 days apart, it is likely that the initial shipments will only be enough to protect about 1.2 million Ontarians. Pfizer shares were up 1.6 percent while BioNTech jumped 3.8 percent in the United States.

Scientists have welcomed the news that older people will achieve a good level of protection, with those over 65 years deemed to be at higher risk of severe illness from Covid-19 or death.

The announcement comes just days after similarly encouraging news from Moderna Inc. about its vaccine.

Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization's top emergency expert, said it would be at least 4-6 months before significant levels of vaccination were taking place around the world.

Andrew Hill is a researcher at the University of Liverpool's department of pharmacology.

If the vaccine is authorized, attention will immediately shift to how it will be distributed.



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