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A shot of good news as Pfizer hits success with Covid-19 vaccine

By Ricky Browne

A trial has shown a new vaccine produced by Pfizer to be 90 percent effective against Covid-19, it was reported today.

In a tweet this morning Pfizer said: “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 COVID-19 in participants without prior evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

The Pfizer logo

Pfizer Inc. is a leading pharmaceutical company based in New York City in the US.

The analysis evaluated 94 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in trial participants. There were 43,538 participants in the study, with 42 percent having diverse backgrounds. No serious safety concerns were observed, Pfizer said, noting that safety and additional efficacy data continue to be collected.

The timing of Pfizer’s announcement is likely to be questioned by Republicans.

US President Donald Trump (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

In his run up to the election, US President Donald Trump announced that a vaccine was weeks away from being found. It seems he was correct. Had this announcement from Pfizer come before the election, it might have had a big change on the election results.

“Why now?” asked Republican Senator Ted Cruz in a tweet.

But President Trump didn’t consider that in his first tweet on the matter.

“STOCK MARKET UP BIG, VACCINE COMING SOON. REPORT 90% EFFECTIVE. SUCH GREAT NEWS!” tweeted Trump in all caps.

Vice President Mike Pence was also supportive.

“HUGE NEWS: Thanks to the public-private partnership forged by President @realDonaldTrump, @pfizer announced its Coronavirus Vaccine trial is EFFECTIVE, preventing infection in 90% of its volunteers,” Pence tweeted.

Submission for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is planned for soon after the required safety milestone is achieved, Pfizer said, which is currently expected to occur in the third week of November

“This is a first but critical step as we continue our work to try to deliver a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine,” Pfizer tweeted.

“Efficacy in the majority of participants, safety data and consistent manufacturing are the three requirements that are needed before we are able to file for Emergency Use Authorization,” Pfizer tweeted.

Is that light at the end of the tunnel? Photo: Roy Harryman

As the world continues to struggle with the pandemic, the result is a rare shot of good news. It could mean the first glimmer of hope for an end to the coronavirus that has taken more than a million lives globally, including more than 48,000 in the United Kingdom, and has devastated the world economy.

“Today is a great day for science and humanity.,” said Dr Albert Bourla, the Pfizer chairman and CEO.

Dr Albert Bouria, Pfizer chairman and CEO

“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 programme at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen,” he said.

“I want to thank the thousands of people who volunteered to participate in the clinical trial, our academic collaborators and investigators at the study sites, and our colleagues and collaborators around the world who are dedicating their time to this crucial endeavour,” added Bourla. “We could not have come this far without the tremendous commitment of everyone involved.”

Pfizer is perhaps best known for one product

Pfizer is well known for several of its name-brand products including Advil, Xanax and Zoloft.  But up to this point Pfizer has perhaps been most famous for its little blue pill, Viagra, for treating erectile dysfunction. An effective vaccine is likely to have a far deeper and wide ranging impact.

Meanwhile several other companies across the globe including British pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca are also racing to produce an effective vaccine.

Wall Street, New York

The FTSE was boosted by 5.6 percent on the news, with other global stock markets up by a similar amount. Wall Street was not yet open, but the futures market was expecting a similar five percent increase. Share prices for airlines and hotels were among those moving up thanks to the development,

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be holding a news conference at 5:00 pm, at which it is thought he will discuss this new development.

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