Pfizer announced that data from its coronavirus vaccine trial has shown more than 90% efficacy in preventing COVID-19.
The vaccine trial has shown positive efficacy “in preventing COVID-19 in participants without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection in the first interim efficacy analysis,” as Pfizer Chairman and CEO Dr. Albert Bourla, said in the announcement Monday.
“This means we are one step closer to potentially providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global pandemic,” he said. “This is a first but critical step in our work to deliver a safe and effective vaccine.”
He noted that Pfizer — which is working with BioNTech on the potential vaccine — cannot file for FDA Emergency Use Authorization yet on the two-dose vaccine, but plans to by the third week of November after it gathers “a median of two months of safety data.”
Co-founder and CEO of BioNTech Ugur Sahin also said in a statement, “The first interim analysis of our global Phase 3 study provides evidence that a vaccine may effectively prevent COVID-19. This is a victory for innovation, science and a global collaborative effort.”
Additionally, Kathrin Jansen, a senior vice president and the head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer, told The New York Times, “This is a historical moment.”
“This was a devastating situation, a pandemic, and we have embarked on a path and a goal that nobody ever has achieved — to come up with a vaccine within a year,” Jansen added.
Jansen noted to the Times that the drug company did not take any federal money, saying, “We were never part of the [Operation Warp Speed]. We have never taken any money from the U.S. government, or from anyone.”
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
This is a first but critical step as we continue our work to try to deliver a safe and effective #COVID19 vaccine.— Pfizer Inc. (@pfizer) November 9, 2020
President-elect Joe Biden also applauded the news from Pfizer, writing in a statement Monday, “I congratulate the brilliant women and men who helped produce this breakthrough and to give us such cause for hope.”
He continued, “At the same time, it is also important to understand that the end of the battle against COVID-19 is still months away,” adding, “Even if that is achieved, and some Americans are vaccinated later this year, it will be many more months before there is widespread vaccination in this country.”
The former vice president encouraged Americans to continue to “rely on masking, distancing, contact tracing, hand washing, and other measures to keep themselves safe well into next year.”
The announcement from Pfizer comes as the United States is combatting the third wave of COVID-19. Within the past 10 days, the U.S. reported roughly a million new cases, and the average daily deaths due to COVID-19 is one in every 11 deaths in the U.S. compared to the worldwide death count reported per day.