Pharmaceutical company Pfizer revealed that an external, independent Data Monitoring Committee (DMC) has found their COVID-19 vaccine to be over 90% effective in protecting people from the virus.

The mRNA-based vaccine candidate, BNT162b2, has demonstrated evidence of efficacy against COVID-19 in participants without prior evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, based on the first interim efficacy analysis conducted on November 8, Pfizer said in a statement. 

“Today is a great day for science and humanity. The first set of results from our Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19,” said Dr Albert Bourla, Pfizer Chair and CEO.

“We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen. With today’s news, we are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis. We look forward to sharing additional efficacy and safety data generated from thousands of participants in the coming weeks.”

The Phase 3 clinical trial of BNT162b2 began on July 27 and has enrolled 43 538 participants to date, 38 955 of whom have received a second dose of the vaccine candidate as of November 8, 2020. Approximately 42% of global participants and 30% of US participants have racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds.

The trial is continuing to enrol subjects and is expected to continue through the final analysis when a total of 164 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been accrued. The study also will evaluate the potential for the vaccine candidate to provide protection against COVID-19 in those who have had prior exposure to SARS-CoV-2, as well as vaccine prevention against severe COVID-19 disease.

“The first interim analysis of our global Phase 3 study provides evidence that a vaccine may effectively prevent COVID-19. This is a victory for innovation, science and a global collaborative effort,” said Professor Ugur Sahin, BioNTech co-founder and CEO.

A 90% efficacy is a promising step towards beating the coronavirus, as no vaccine is 100% effective, according to the Immunisation Advisory Centre. Even after vaccination, a small percentage of people are not protected and for others the protection may wane over time.

Picture: Unsplash

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