Pfizer ends COVID-19 trial with 95% efficacy

Laverne Higgins
November 19, 2020

Israel is in talks with drugmaker Pfizer Inc over its potential COVID-19 vaccine, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday, although it has not signed any deals yet.

According to Reuters, experts said the Russian data was encouraging but warned that the results were only based on a small number of trial volunteers who had contracted the virus.

As part of Operation Warp Speed, the federal government in the United States signed an agreement with Pfizer in July for up to 600 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. "It's looking like a really contender".

Pfizer Inc said on Wednesday that final results from the late-stage trial of its COVID-19 vaccine showed it was 95% effective, adding it had the required two-months of safety data and would apply for emergency US authorization within days.

Pfizer said it would continue its trial until there were 164 Covid-19 registered cases.

Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SE said on Wednesday they had reached an agreement with the European Commission to supply up to 300 million doses of their experimental coronavirus vaccine.

Pfizer to request coronavirus vaccine emergency use authorization ‘within days’
Its vaccine is reportedly said to be easier to distribute as it can be stored for one month at standard refrigerator temperatures. Distribution of a Pfizer shot is complicated by the need to store it at ultra-cold temperatures of -70 degrees Celsius.

The data from Moderna's trial involving 30,000 volunteers also showed the vaccine prevented cases of severe COVID-19, a question that still remains with the Pfizer vaccine.

The better-than-expected results from the two vaccines, both developed with new messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, have raised hopes for an end to a pandemic that has killed more than 1.3 million people and wreaked havoc upon economies and daily life.

However, while some groups such as healthcare workers will be prioritized in the United States for vaccinations this year, it will be months before large-scale rollouts begin. Moderna says the vaccine only requires standard refrigerator temperature of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius for 30 days, and can be stored for up to 6 months at minus 20 degrees Celsius. The detail on achieving 94% protection in the elderly participants in the trial is particularly excellent news. "This is the evidence we needed to ensure that the most vulnerable people are protected", said Andrew Hill, a senior visiting research fellow at the University of Liverpool's department of pharmacology.

Market Reaction: Equity markets strengthened slightly on the news. The benchmark S&P 500 futures rose 1.3%, stopping just short of a new record high, while the pan-European STOXX 600 hit late-February highs.

"Most of these vaccine candidates are in an advanced phase of clinical trials, hopefully authorisation will confirm these positive results, after which they will be quickly deployed and help us in overcoming the pandemic", she added. There were also no major side effects, making it deployable worldwide.

For its trial, Moderna named five severe side effects experienced by at least 2% of those who received its shot: fatigue at 9.7%, muscle pain at 8.9%, joint pain at 5.2%, headache at 4.5%, pain at 4.1% and redness around the injection site at 2%. Older adults tended to report fewer and milder adverse events.

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