The groundbreaking new Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech has now proved to be 95 per cent effective in preventing coronavirus, with “no serious safety concerns,” it has been reported.
This means the vaccine now meets the safety criteria required for emergency authorisations, with the developers planning to submit it for emergency use to the US regulator “within days.”
The vaccine also appears to protect 94 per cent of adults over the age of 65 from Covid.
UK poised to fast track authorisation
The UK has pre-ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and should receive 10 million by the end of the year.
The Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the UK regulatory body, is now poised to fast track authorisation of the vaccine. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said the NHS will be ready from December, if the vaccine gets approved.
Speaking to MPs last week, Hancock said that the news of the breakthrough with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was an important step but “there are no guarantees.”
The most recent findings are based on two doses given to more than 41,000 people around the world. There were no serious side effects, with two per cent of the participants reporting a headache, and 3.7 per cent report fatigue, the companies said.
Last week, Pfizer-BioNTech revealed preliminary data showing the vaccine offered 90 per cent protection against Covid-19, with no safety concerns.
The companies, which are based in the US and Germany, say they will be able to produce 50 million does this year, and 1.3 billion in 2021.
Pfizer chairman and chief executive, Dr Albert Bourla, said, "The study results mark an important step in this historic eight-month journey to bring forward a vaccine capable of helping to end this devastating pandemic.
"We continue to move at the speed of science to compile all the data collected thus far and share with regulators around the world."
Continued vaccine success
The news of Pfizer-BioNTech’s success follows from results revealed by US pharmaceutical firm Moderna that its own vaccine candidate had a promising efficacy of 94.5 per cent. The results added to the growing hope that vaccines could help end the pandemic.
The trial involved 30,000 people in the US, with half being given doses of the vaccine four weeks apart. The rest received dummy injections.
The analysis was based on the first 95 participants to develop Covid symptoms. Only five of the Covid cases were in people given the vaccine.
The Sputnik V vaccine, developed in Russia, has also revealed early data suggesting it is 92 per cent effective in combating Covid-19.
A leading member of the Oxford Vaccine project revealed yesterday that results from the research into its effectiveness will arrive “pretty soon.” The UK has ordered 100 million doses of this vaccine, which is produced by Cambridge-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.