Pfizer Announces Early Analysis: Its Covid Vaccine Shows 90% Effective with Dr. Wartel from IVI
Updated: 2020-11-11 15:40:37 KST
The number of coronavirus cases recorded around the world has now surpassed 50 million, with figures rising steeply as countries grapple with a global second wave.
Health authorities are estimating though, that this figure does not include asymptomatic patients, and unreported cases around the world.
Projecting the inclusive figure to be twice the number that's at least 100 million cases.
On top of which, the number of deaths have surpassed 1 million
But we now have exciting news of an interim analysis of the Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine candidate showed to be 90-percent effective.
It's true that this type of medication has no approval yet which is why we are carrying out this compatibility study with more than 40,000 test persons to find out if there is any intolerance, even a rare one. What we an prove with this study is that the vaccine is compatible and that side effects are mild and moderate and that there are no severe side effects."
As we celebrate hope of a potential end to this pandemic that has killed more than a million people, shattered economies and upended daily life worldwide,let's take an in-depth look at what this all means.
Joining us in the studio is Dr. Anh Wartel, Associate Director-General of EPIC at the International Vaccine Institute.
Dr. Wartel, welcome to the show.
The Pfizer/BioNTech trial that's showing 90-percent efficacy is due to continue into December.
Previously, vaccine regulators had said that they would approve a vaccine with even just 50% efficacy
Now, the data is from an interim analysis
Does this leave any concern for health experts, or has this trial progressed close enough to the end for it to be safe for global distribution?
The FDA, on October 23, authorized the restart of the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine that had to halt their trial due to safety concerns around a participant that fell ill in September.
Interim results are also expected this month or early next month from the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine
But the technology behind the two leaders in the global vaccine race is different.
Can we say which vaccine is "better"?
And if the AstraZeneca vaccine shows equal efficacy, would we have two vaccines?
Now, the manufacturing of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is already under way.
Pfizer said they expect to globally supply up to 50 million vaccine doses in what remains of 2020, and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.
My first question is about the methodology of distribution.
As much as this is a global pandemic how are countries prioritized for vaccination? Would the distribution be through COVAX?
Where does South Korea stand in receiving this vaccine?
Are there, or will there be, any guidelines as to how countries decide who gets vaccinated first?
For example, in the UK, presuming the vaccine works well enough in elderly people, the joint committee on vaccination and immunisation has recommended that
the first vaccines go to care home workers and residents, followed by anybody over 80 and other health and social care workers.
After that, people are expected to get them in decreasing age order.
Both Pfizer and BioNTech have reported no serious side-effects, hence no safety concerns around this vaccine.
And their phase 3 trials involved more than 43,000 people of diverse racial and ethnical backgrounds.
Does this mean the vaccine is conclusively safe for distribution to all countries?
Now, after the vaccine does get all clearance there is still concern about safety in terms of shipping and storage.
BioNTech chief executive said the company is researching whether the vaccine might be able to survive for up to five days at a normal fridge temperature of 4C
because the Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at -70C.
What is it about the vaccine that calls for such a whoppingly low temperature?
And if this vaccine needs to be at such a temperature, how would that complicate distribution?
Dr. Anh Wartel, Associate Director-General of EPIC at the International Vaccine Institute, thanks you for your helpful insights this evening. We appreciate it.