‘Promising’ Pfizer vaccine results give ‘ray of hope’ in fight against coronavirus

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  • November 9, 2020
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xperts today hailed the “promising” news of the Pfizer vaccine results as a “watershed moment” in the fight against Covid-19.

The major breakthrough was announced today after a preliminary analysis from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech found the vaccine to be more than 90 per cent effective.

Experts said the results suggested the inoculation has “really impressive protection”, with suggestions it could speed up the development of other vaccines, paving the way for the rollout of at least one jab in the UK early next year.

Professor Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases and global health in the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford, said: “This news made me smile from ear to ear.

“It is a relief to see such positive results on this vaccine and bodes well for Covid-19 vaccines in general.

“Of course we need to see more detail and await the final results, and there is a long, long way to go before vaccines will start to make a real difference. But this feels to me like a watershed moment.”

Ian Jones, professor of virology at the University of Reading, said the Pfizer trial data shows “really impressive protection and no reported adverse events”.

He said: “Of all the current vaccines currently in development, the BioNtech product always looked like the most bang-per-buck as it is entirely focused on the part of the virus that binds to the human cell, the receptor binding domain.

“The questions around its use were about the ability to manufacture at scale and the possible toxicity associated with a directly injected RNA product. The trial data show excellent results in both of those areas, really impressive protection and no reported adverse events.”

Professor Sir John Bell, the Regis professor of medicine at Oxford University, said the development could trigger a return to “normal” life by the spring. 

“It rolls the pitch for other vaccines… I can’t see any reason why we shouldn’t have a handful of good vaccines now,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.  

“It’s very important, because there’s no other really obvious way to get on top of this thing frankly.”

Asked if people could look forward to a return to normal life by the spring, Sir John replied: “Yes, yes, yes, yes. I am probably the first guy to say that but I will say that with some confidence.”

jumped more than 5.5 per cent on the news, adding £82 billion to the value of its shares in the market’s best day since March. 

The results are based on the first interim analysis of Phase 3 of the study, and evaluated 94 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in trial participants.

The study enrolled 43,538 participants, with 42 per cent having diverse backgrounds, and no serious safety concerns have been observed, the companies report.

They add that safety and additional efficacy data continue to be collected. The case split between vaccinated individuals and those who received the placebo indicates a vaccine efficacy rate above 90 per cent, at seven days after the second dose.

Researchers say this means that protection is achieved 28 days after the initiation of the vaccination, which consists of two doses.

However, they caution that as the study continues the final vaccine efficacy percentage may vary.

The companies plan to apply for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month. although they have not presented a breakdown of the vaccine’s effectiveness in different age groups.