By Davidson Iriekpen with agency report
Pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, yesterday revealed that the final analysis of the Phase 3 trial of its COVID-19 vacine in conjunction with BioNTech shows that it is 95 per cent effective in preventing infections.
It added that the analysis of vaccine also revealed that it is effective on people of all ages, races and ethnicities and caused no serious safety concerns.
The companies said they would now apply for authorisation for emergency use of the jab in the United States.The findings are based on two doses given to more than 41,000 people around the world.
Last week, Pfizer and BioNTech published preliminary data showing the vaccine offered 90 per cent protection against Covid-19 and there were no safety concerns. This was followed by impressive data on another vaccine, made by US company Moderna, suggesting nearly 95 per cent protection.
Yesterday’s data from the companies suggested that the vaccine is 95 per cent effective, based on 170 cases of Covid-19 developing in volunteers – just eight were in the group given the vaccine, suggesting it offers good protection.
The rest of the cases were in the placebo group given a dummy jab.
Although the full trial data has yet to be published, the companies said there have been no serious safety concerns. But they did notice headaches and fatigue in about two per cent of volunteers given the vaccine.
In the trial, 42 per cent of all participants are from diverse ethnic backgrounds and 41per cent are aged between 56 and 85 years old.
The trial, which is testing people at 150 sites in the US, Germany, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil and Argentina, will collect data on the safety and efficacy of the vaccine for another two years.
The companies behind it expect to produce up to 50 million doses of the vaccine this year and up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.
The UK has pre-ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine and should get 10 million by the end of the year.
It has also ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is planning to release data from its phase three trial soon.
There are hundreds of vaccines in development around the world, and about a dozen in the final stages of testing, known as phase three.
The first two to show any results – made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna – both use an experimental approach, called mRNA, which involves injecting part of the virus’s genetic code into the body to train the immune system.
Antibodies and T-cells are then made by the body to fight the coronavirus.
There are logistical challenges with these kinds of vaccines, namely the need to store them at ultra-cold temperatures.
The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at about minus 80C, although it can be kept in a fridge for five days.
Moderna’s vaccine can be stored at minus 20C for up to six months and kept in a standard fridge for up to a month.