Global stock markets were higher today as optimism around a potential COVID-19 vaccine boosted risk assets. On Sunday, Pfizer Inc CEO Albert Bourla said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he’s “quite comfortable” that the vaccine the company is developing in partnership with BioNTech SE is safe and that it could be available to Americans before 2021, depending on an approval from U.S. regulators at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Here are 5 updates on covid vaccine:
1) US-based Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech are seen among the frontrunners in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine, alongside Moderna Inc. and AstraZeneca Plc-Oxford University. Their vaccine candidates are in final trials. Pfizer Inc CEO said they have a 60% chance of knowing the efficacy of its still experimental vaccine by the end of October.
“It’s more than 60% that we will know if the product works or not by the end of October. But of course that doesn’t mean that it works. It means that we will know if it works,” he said.
2)”I cannot say what the FDA will do. But I think it’s a likely scenario, and we are preparing for it. For example, we started already manufacturing and we have already manufactured hundreds of thousands of doses, so just in case we have a good study readout, conclusive and FDA plus the advisory committee feels comfortable that we will be ready,” he said.
3) On Saturday, Pfizer-BioNTechare said sought permission from US authorities for expansion of their Phase 3 pivotal COVID-19 vaccine trial to up to approximately 44,000 participants which also allows for the enrollment of new populations, including people as young as 16, and to allow those with HIV and Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
The companies expects a “conclusive readout on efficacy is likely by the end of October.”
4) Meanwhile, AstraZeneca on Saturday said that it has resumed British clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine that it is jointly developing with Oxford University after getting the green light from safety watchdogs. The late-stage trials of the experimental vaccine were suspended this week after an illness in a study subject in Britain, casting doubts on an early rollout.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had flagged AstraZeneca’s as the most promising and the vaccine is in late-stage clinical trials in the United States, Britain, Brazil and South Africa.
5) A COVID-19 vaccine is likely to be available by early next year and the government is considering its emergency authorisation for high-risk people, Union Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday said, asserting he will take the first shot to address any “trust deficit” over its safety.
According to a Health Ministry statement, he said while no date has been fixed for the launch of a vaccine, it may be ready by the first quarter of 2021, and made available first to those who need it the most, irrespective of their paying capacity, (With Agency Inputs)