COVID-19 vaccine could be 90% effective


It may apply for emergency use nod in the U.S.


  • Pharma major Pfizer said that an early peek at the data on its coronavirus vaccine suggests the shots may be a robust 90% effective at preventing COVID-19.
  • Pharmaceutical companies and various countries are in a global race to develop a vaccine against the virus.
  • This interim analysis, from an independent data monitoring board, looked at 94 infections recorded so far in a study that has enrolled nearly 44,000 people in the U.S. and five other countries.


Like flu shots?

  • Earlier this year, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert, said he would be happy with a COVID-19 vaccine that was 60% effective. 
  • Scientists have warned for months that any COVID-19 shot may be only as good as flu vaccines, which are about 50% effective and require yearly shots.


Late-stage testing

  • The coronavirus shots, made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, are among 10 possible vaccine candidates in late-stage testing around the world — four of them so far in huge studies in the U.S.
  • Volunteers in the final-stage studies, and the researchers, don’t know who received the real vaccine or a dummy shot.
  • But a week after their second required dose, Pfizer’s study began counting the number who developed COVID-19 symptoms and were confirmed to have the coronavirus. 
  • Because the study hasn’t ended, Dr. Gruber couldn’t say how many in each group had infections. 
  • But the math suggests that almost all the infections counted so far had to have occurred in people who got the dummy shots.
  • Pfizer doesn’t plan to stop its study until it records 164 infections among all the volunteers, a number that the FDA has agreed is enough to tell how well the vaccine is working. 
  • The agency has made clear that any vaccine must be at least 50% effective. No participant so far has become severely ill, Dr. Gruber said. Nor could he provide a breakdown of how many of the infections had occurred in older people, who are at highest risk from COVID-19.
  • Participants were tested only if they developed symptoms, leaving unanswered whether vaccinated people could get infected but show no symptoms and spread the virus.
  • FDA has told companies they must track half their participants for side effects for at least two months.


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