By Eric Ikhilae, Abuja
Pharmaceutical firm Pfizer has claimed that new test results showed that its coronavirus vaccine is 95 per cent effective, safe and also protects older people most at risk of dying.
The announcement, from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, just a week after they revealed the first promising preliminary results, comes as the team is preparing within days to formally ask United States (U.S.) regulators to allow emergency use of the vaccine.
They also have begun “rolling submissions” for the vaccine with regulators in Europe, the UK and Canada and soon will add this new data.
The NZ Government has already agreed to buy 1.5 million doses – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech.
Pfizer has launched a pilot delivery programme for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine in four U.S. states, as the American drug-maker seeks to address distribution challenges facing its ultra-cold storage requirements.
Pfizer and BioNTech had initially estimated the vaccine was more than 90 per cent effective after 94 infections had been counted in a study that included 44,000 people. With the new announcement, the company now has accumulated 170 infections in the study – and said only eight of them occurred in volunteers, who got the actual vaccine rather than a dummy shot. One of those eight developed severe disease, the company said.
“This is an extraordinarily strong protection,” Dr. Ugur Sahin, BioNTech’s CEO and co-founder, told The Associated Press.