One of the biggest vaccine trials in the world has said its candidate is more than 90% effective.
US Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German firm BioNTech have announced the first interim results from their large-scale trials this morning.
They said the candidate was effective for more than nine out of ten people in the trial who had not been infected before.
It is a far higher efficacy rate than many experts had hoped for – with regulators prepared to accept a vaccine that is just 50% effective.
The EU has already bought 200 million doses of the vaccine with the option to buy another 100 million.
'Great day for humanity'
The company said today is a “great day for science and humanity” with tests showing no evidence of side effects.
The candidate involves two-doses, with 90% of people protected from seven days after the second dose.
It means that people could be fully vaccinated 28 days after receiving the first dose.
“Today is a great day for science and humanity,” said Pfizer CEO Dr Alberta Bourla.
The first set of results from our Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19.”
“We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen.
“With today’s news, we are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis. We look forward to sharing additional efficacy and safety data generated from thousands of participants in the coming weeks.”
UPDATE: We are proud to announce, along with @BioNTech_Group, that our mRNA-based #vaccine candidate has, at an interim analysis, demonstrated initial evidence of efficacy against #COVID19 in participants without prior evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
— Pfizer Inc. (@pfizer) November 9, 2020
The analysis examined 94 confirmed COVID-19 infections among the trial’s 43,538 participants.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has told companies they must provide safety data on half of the people in the trial for a two-month period after they receive their second does in order to win emergency approval for use in the US.
Pfizer sad it will reach the milestone in the third week of November.
'Victory for innovation'
BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said the results are “a victory for innovation, science and a global collaborative effort.”
“When we embarked on this journey 10 months ago this is what we aspired to achieve,” he said.
“Especially today, while we are all in the midst of a second wave and many of us in lockdown, we appreciate even more how important this milestone is on our path towards ending this pandemic and for all of us to regain a sense of normality.
“We will continue to collect further data as the trial continues to enrol for a final analysis planned when a total of 164 confirmed COVID-19 cases have accrued. I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to make this important achievement possible.”
The two companies said they expect to produce up to 50 million vaccine does before the end of the year and up to 1.3 billion doses next year.