COVID-19 vaccine could be 90% effective
#GS3 #HEALTH #COVID-19 #SCIENCE
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.
- 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.