The only thing better than Moderna releasing a vaccine early trial efficacy rate of 94.5% is Pfizer announcing two days later that its late-stage vaccine trials were 95% effective.
Amid worldwide spiking cases, the drugmaker said Wednesday that it is planning to apply for emergency authorization with the Food and Drug Administration within days, a startling turnaround in a vaccine development process that often can take years.
Pfizer said it could make 50 million doses available before the end of December. Half of that would go to the U.S., which would serve 12.4 million people for free under a $1.95 billion federal deal with Pfizer for 100 million doses.
Pfizer said the third-phase clinical testing showed no side effects, prevented mild and severe COVID-19 cases and was 94% effective on older adults, the most vulnerable sector to the virus. The efficacy took hold 28 days after the first dose, according to Pfizer’s press release.
“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,” Pfizer Chief Executive Dr. Albert Bourla said in a statement.
Pfizer began development on the vaccine in March with BioNTech, a German company. On Nov. 9, the partnership shared trial results showing 90% efficacy with a 43,661 person trial, in which some were given two vaccine doses while others were given a placebo shot of salt water.
In the latest trial, there were 170 COVID-19 cases with 162 in the placebo group and eight in the vaccine group. One severe case came from the vaccine group.
The results have not been reviewed by a scientific journal and the FDA will need weeks to review the clinical, safety and manufacturing data and have an independent panel review. But this could be well worth the wait.