Pharmaceutical company Pfizer on Monday announced that their COVID-19 vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90 per cent effective in preventing the disease.
"Today is a great day for science and humanity", Albert Bourla, Pfizer's chairman and chief executive, said.
Stocks are surging Monday, catapulting Wall Street back to record heights, on a burst of hope following encouraging data about a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, an AP report suggested that the announcement does not mean a vaccine is imminent. Pfizer and BioNTech estimate two months of safety data following the second (final) dose needs to be procured before results can be confirmed.
Although this vaccine could be the first, there remain many unanswered questions.
If a vaccine for COVID-19 does indeed pan out, analysts say it's a "game changer" and just what the market had been waiting for.
To this, the answer as of now is a simple NO.
Pfizer cautioned that the initial protection rate may still change as time goes on and made clear that the vaccine was unlikely to be available before the end of the year.
"What I said I'm going to do in NY is we're going to put together our own group of doctors and medical experts to review the vaccine and the efficacy and the protocol, and if they say it's safe, I'll go to the people of NY and I will say it's safe with that credibility", Cuomo said in mid-October.
USA biotech firm Moderna, several state-run Chinese labs, and a European project led by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca are thought to be closing in on potentially viable vaccines.
"SUCH GREAT NEWS!" the President tweeted minutes after Pfizer announced the development and days after he lost the USA presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden. The BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine is only one of two vaccines the EMA is examining as part of a "rolling review" process, meaning they're checking data as it comes in, rather than all at the end.
The math of the study is simple: 94 cases in trial participants, about 9 of the vaccine recipients got covid-19, about 85 placebo recipients got it.
Because the pandemic is still raging, manufacturers hope to seek permission from governments around the world for emergency use of their vaccines while additional testing continues - allowing them to get to market faster than normal but raising concerns about how much scientists will know about the shots.
The reported 90% effectiveness is well above the 50% effectiveness that the US Food and Drug Administration requires in order to authorize a coronavirus vaccine. The United States has the world's highest known number of Covid-19 cases and deaths with more than 10 million infections and over 237,000 fatalities.
The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine uses messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, which relies on synthetic genes that can be generated and manufactured in weeks, and produced at scale more rapidly than conventional vaccines.
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