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Pfizer, BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine 95% effective in final results, shows study

The companies will be filing for emergency approval from the US drug regulator which means the shots could be available for distribution as early as by the end of this year.

November 18, 2020 / 07:18 PM IST

Pfizer Inc on November 18 said its COVID-19 vaccine with partner BioNTech SE was 95 percent effective in the final analysis based on clinical trials data. The companies are all set to seek emergency authorisation for use of the shots from regulators.

The company said the COVID-19 vaccine is showing signs of being safe for people across all ages and ethnicities and that no significant problems have been registered so far in the nearly 44,000 participants.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Pfizer plans to seek approval for the vaccine's use within days. This will mean the COVID vaccine could be available for distribution by year-end.

Out of 170 adult volunteers, in the nearly 44,000-subject trial who developed Covid-19 with at least one symptom, 162 received a placebo, while eight got the vaccine, Pfizer and BioNTech said.

This 95 percent effectiveness rate brings the experimental candidate on par with the likes of shingles and measles vaccines.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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ALSO READ: Why Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine scores over Pfizer’s jab, and why it could be a compelling option for India 

As per the companies, the researchers did not find any serious safety issues. The vaccine appeared to be well tolerated following a review of data from 8,000 study subjects, it added.

Also Read: 5 things to know about Pfizer's Covid vaccine

The companies said they have collected the two months of safety data on about 19,000 study subjects requested by the US Food and Drug Administration. However, the firms are still in the process of reviewing all these results.

“The study results mark an important step in this historic eight-month journey to bring forward a vaccine capable of helping to end this devastating pandemic,” Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said. “We continue to move at the speed of science to compile all the data collected thus far and share with regulators around the world," the report said.

Another candidate being developed by Moderna Inc was also found to be 94.5 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 based on interim data from a late-stage clinical trial.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Nov 18, 2020 05:46 pm

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