Medicine giants reveal COVID-19 vaccines progress

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, November 17, 2020
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The Pfizer's booth promoting vaccines for various diseases at the third China International Import Expo (CIIE). [Photo courtesy of Pfizer]

As Pfizer announced new progress in developing a COVID-19 vaccine, other medicine giants also push forward their own vaccines.

Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Nov. 9 that their mRNA-based vaccine candidate, BNT162b2, showed evidence of being more than 90% effective against COVID-19 in participants without prior evidence of the coronavirus infection. This was based on the first interim efficacy analysis conducted on Nov. 8, by the Data Monitoring Committee (DMC) from a Phase 3 clinical study. The news is arousing considerable excitement, with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla calling this "a first but critical step in our work to deliver a safe and effective vaccine."

Pfizer spokeswoman Trupti Wagh told the two companies had entered into a global collaboration agreement to co-develop BioNTech's potential first mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine program. 

"We are working at unprecedented speed to develop, test and manufacture a potential mRNA-based vaccine that can prevent COVID-19 infection, leveraging decades of scientific expertise in pioneering vaccine discovery and development to respond to this global health crisis. Should the Pfizer-BioNTech collaboration ultimately create a safe and effective vaccine, the objective and intent is to provide worldwide access," she said.

According to her, the submission for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is being planned as soon as the required safety milestone is achieved, this is currently expected to occur in the third week of November. 

In terms of pricing, Wagh told that Pfizer is researching and developing the candidate vaccine to help address an urgent public health need. "Our decision-making is not being driven by traditional cost/benefit analysis. Broad access is important -- speed, safety and availability are driving us. Our pricing strategy is an outcome of volume, advanced commitment, equity and affordability principles."

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