Pfizer and BioTNech have brought a piece of good news to the world, claiming that their vaccine is more than 90 percent effective against COVID-19. As announced on Monday, while the countries around the world are observing a fluctuating number of new coronavirus cases and subsequently an increase in deaths, this news brought a ray of positivity.
This new coronavirus vaccine is developed by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and a German-based biotechnology lab BioNTech. This, along with eleven other vaccines, is at the final stages of testing after which the vaccines will apply to get approval from WHO, FDA, and other authorities.
Matt Hancock, the British Secretary of Health, said that they would be ready to roll out the new coronavirus vaccine from December if it gets approved. He further added about the vaccine update to the Members of Parliament that this was an important step, no doubt, but still “there are no guarantees.”
Regardless of the vaccine being at the last stages of the trial, one thing that should be clear to the people all around the world is that it will not, in any case, come to rescue in the next several months. There is a fear that the virus will continue to take thousands of lives if people don’t take precautions and stop with their worrisome attitude.
How have scientists concluded that the vaccine is over 90 percent effective?
Pfizer and BioNTech have been working on the COVID vaccine for several months. The last stage of the clinical trial was initiated back in July when almost 44,000 participants were vaccinated.
The clinical trial of vaccine included 50 percent of the participants to be vaccinated by the original vaccine and the rest to be injected with a placebo of saltwater. The following months the companies waited for the results and kept a check if any of the almost 44,000 participants got sick and if the vaccine did really work.
The results showed that only 94 out of nearly 44,000 had contracted the virus. An independent board of experts administered the number of participants who got the virus. The monitoring board, known as ‘data monitoring committee’ (DMC), comprises of scientists who do not work for Pfizer or BioNTech.
Are the test results actually fair?
The results gathered from the clinical trial are “blinded” — a standard practice to ensure fair standard. The ratio of participants, both that got the vaccine or the placebo, is strictly limited to the individuals of the independent board only, which means not even the recipients of the dose know what they got.
This monitoring board recorded the ratio of people who got the placebo and those injected with the vaccine. After a detailed analysis of unblinded data, it was suggested that the vaccine has proved to be over 90 percent effective.
A 90 percent effectiveness from the vaccine would also allow the vaccine to get Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA has established the requirement of 50 percent efficacy to grant emergency authorization. In contrast, being known that influenza vaccines are just 40 to 60 percent effective, the Food and Drug Administration scale is fair enough.
When will the first-ever lot get the vaccine?
As per Pfizer, the company will apply for the vaccine’s emergency authorization (EUA) in the third week of November after they have collected the two months of safety data. After the detailed analysis of the vaccine’s safety, effectiveness, and the companies’ ability to produce millions of doses, the vaccine may be available to a segment of high-risk populations by the end of the year. This may only be possible if there are no unforeseen delays in the planned schedule.
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