It was announced yesterday (9th November) that scientists have welcomed the first compelling evidence that a vaccine can prevent COVID-19. This is fantastic news for the world as it indicates a light at the end of this tunnel of the pandemic. The two-dose coronavirus vaccine is still in its trial phases but has reported positive interim results, with both Pfizer and BioNtech reporting a 90% efficiency in preventing the disease 28 days after the initial dose.
The trial has welcomed 43,530 participants and of this number, there have been 94 cases at the time of their press release. As the trial continues, the 90% efficiency rate could drop, however, it is expected to stay above 50% – the threshold that the US Food & Drug Administration employs for vaccine approval in emergency cases.
We will likely hear more information regarding the vaccine upon the final release of the trial results, such as the spectrum of the disease the vaccine can protect us against, and whether it can protect against moderate and severe cases of COVID-19 or just the mild cases. Scientists at BioNTech have stated that if we were to see severe cases appear in the placebo group, this would indicate the prevention of severe cases amongst those who have had the vaccine administered. Regarding its effectiveness against the spread of the disease, they have claimed it would be too difficult to determine in their group of 43,530 participants, as the tested number is too few for an efficient trial. Whilst 42% of the participants had racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, BioNtech are still yet to determine its efficacy for African Americans and over-65’s.
Providing the vaccine is determined successful, Pfizer & BioNtech have projected the ability to produce globally 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021. With most of the world and the families of the suffering still feeling the pressure of COVID-19, the prospect of a vaccine before the end of this difficult year is welcomed with open arms.
Stay safe. Stay at home.