Coronavirus vaccine in 2020? US drugmaker Pfizer isn't saying no!
Even as experts worldwide have said that an effective coronavirus vaccine won't be out before 2021, American pharma giant Pfizer is hoping to deliver one this year itself, igniting hopes globally. The vaccine could be available in the US soon if clinical testing follows the expected timeline and regulators approve the doses, the company said on Tuesday. Here's more on this.
Company hoping to provide 40 million doses in US
Pfizer's Chief Executive Albert Bourla said the company is looking at providing 40 million doses in the US this year. "If all goes well, we will be ready to distribute an initial number of doses," Bourla said, according to AFP. Pfizer's contract with the US government necessitates it to provide 40 million doses by this year and another 100 million doses by March 2021.
Expecting to file emergency use authorization before December: Bourla
The top official said Pfizer is expecting to file for COVID-19 vaccine's emergency use authorization by the third week of November. When asked if he was being "bullish" about the vaccine's efficiency, Bourla said, "I'm not bullish a vaccine will work. I'm cautiously optimistic that the vaccine will work." Pfizer is working on the vaccine along with Germany's BioNTech SE.
Meanwhile, Pfizer said it still doesn't have late-stage trial data
While the company is hoping to pull off the impossible, it also said that it still doesn't have data from the late-stage trials. Pfizer claimed that in the 44,000-volunteer trial, there hadn't been enough infections to understand whether the vaccine works or not, reports Reuters. A data monitoring board could make the first assessment after at least 32 participants contract the virus.
Data would definitely not be out before November 3 polls
Bourla explained once the company has enough data, it would still take five-seven days before that information is made public. This means the findings will not be available before the November 3 elections. "For us, the election is an artificial milestone. This is going to be not a Republican vaccine or a Democrat vaccine. It will be a vaccine for the world," he said.
Pfizer expected to defeat rival Moderna in vaccine race
Earlier, Pfizer had said data would be released this month, which would have made it the first US drugmaker to do so, before rival Moderna Inc. In fact, President Donald Trump also seemingly relied on Pfizer, which explains his confidence about a vaccine being available just in time for polls. US has already lost 232,084 to the contagious disease; Trump had also gotten infected.
Trial needs to consider high-risk people, opined expert
On Pfizer's statement about trial data, Dr. David Boulware, professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota, said the study's participants could be more adherent to social distancing guidelines than the general population. "Who the vaccine trials really need are people who don't wear masks, who are going out to bars, who go to crowded events — those are the high-risk people," he said.
First generation of vaccine won't be perfect: UK taskforce
With the globe pinning hopes on a vaccine, UK vaccine taskforce Chair Kate Bingham said on Tuesday that the first batch would not be that effective. "The first generation of vaccines is likely to be imperfect, and we should be prepared that they might not prevent infection but rather reduce symptoms, and, even then, might not work for everyone or for long," she said.