German company BioNTech and its US partner Pfizer announced on Monday that early results from ongoing Phase III trials showed that their vaccine was 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 infections.
The statement from the two companies is the first release of successful data from a large-scale trial of coronavirus vaccines.
According to their reports, they found no serious safety concerns connected with the vaccine. Researchers believe the immunizing effects will not be short-lived.
If substantiated, the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine would be a breakthrough in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Effects could last ‘at least a year’
BioNTech’s CEO Ugur Sahin told Reuters that: “We should be more optimistic that the immunization effect can last for at least a year.”
“The first set of results from our Phase III COVID-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19,” Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement.
Analysis of the experimental vaccine trials appeared to effectively prevent infection in participants “without prior evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the joint statement said.
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. Nevertheless, Pfizer’s senior vice president of clinical development, Dr. Bill Gruber told the Associated Press: “We are very encouraged.”
Biden and Trump welcome vaccine news
US President-elect Joe Biden welcomed the promising results from the vaccine trials, but warned that widespread vaccination was still months away. He also urged the US public to continue wearing masks and social distancing.
“Today’s news is great news, but it doesn’t change that fact,” Biden said in a statement. “Today’s announcement promises the chance to change that next year, but the tasks before us now remain the same.”
US President Donald Trump, celebrated the news and the boost to the stock market as “SUCH GREAT NEWS,” in a post on Twitter.
European stock markets reacted positively to the news with Pfizer’s share increasing 6% while BioNTech’s US stocks rocketed up by 18%.
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