New Hopes for a COVID-19 Vaccine
An Update from Pfizer Inc.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, pharmaceutical companies all around the world have answered the call to action for creating a vaccine for the virus (Sars-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19. As of Monday, November 9th, Pfizer Inc. released results from their latest COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial. Pfizer Inc. is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world and is based out of New York City, Ny. In the third phase of testing, approximately 43,000 volunteers across the United States participated in both rounds of vaccine administration. Following the gold-standard of research, the study was a blind Randomized Control Clinical Trial. This means that people were randomly assigned to one of two groups; either the vaccine group or the placebo group and the participants didn’t know which group they were in making the study blinded. Both groups received two rounds of injections where the vaccine group received the actual vaccine and the placebo group received an injection of saline.
The final results of the study reported that 94 volunteers had contracted COVID-19. For the 94 people that contracted COVID-19, 90% were protected from the virus via vaccine and 10% were not. This indicates that the vaccine has an efficacy rate of approximately 90% after the two doses are received. I should mention that it is looking like this vaccine is most likely going to be a series. This means that people will have to receive multiple rounds to gain immunity. Other vaccines that must be received in series include the ones for Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR).
Outlined by the CDC, vaccine testing and approval occurs in 5 stages. These stages are the exploratory stage, the preclinical stage; the regulatory review and approval stage; the manufacturing stage; and the quality control stage. Because Pfizer Inc. has seen such promising results from the clinical stage for the COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer Inc. has current projections predicting that they will be able to manufacture 50 million doses before the end of the year, and 1.3 billion by the end of 2021.
Although there is a lot unknown about the future of the COVID-19 vaccine - such as who will be eligible to receive it, how much it will cost, and whether it will be an annual vaccine or not; there is a lot of hope on the horizon. It is also extremely important to remember that the day the vaccine is officially released to the public is not the day that the pandemic is over. It is simply the first day of the end stage of the pandemic. Until the majority of the general public has been vaccinated, it is crucial that we stay diligent about masking up, staying physically distant, and practicing good hygiene. To learn more from Pfizer Inc. and their vaccine trials, use this link!