Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE today announced their mRNA-based vaccine candidate, BNT162b2, against SARS-CoV-2 has demonstrated evidence of efficacy against COVID-19 in participants without prior evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, based on the first interim efficacy analysis conducted on November 8, 2020 by an external, independent Data Monitoring Committee (DMC) from the Phase 3 clinical study.
An early peek at the data on its coronavirus vaccine suggests the shots may be a surprisingly robust 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 Pfizer said on Monday.
“We’re in a position potentially to be able to offer some hope,” Dr. Bill Gruber, Pfizer’s senior vice-president of clinical development, told The Associated Press. “We’re very encouraged.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top-infectious disease expert, said the results suggesting 90% effectiveness are “just extraordinary,” adding: “Not very many people expected it would be as high as that.”
“It’s going to have a major impact on everything we do with respect to COVID,” Fauci said.
Pfizer Inc. did not provide any more details about those infections and cautioned that the initial protection rate might change by the time the study ends. Even revealing such early data is highly unusual.
Vancouver-based Acuitas Therapeutics, a biotechnology company, is playing a key role through a technology known as lipid nanoparticles, which deliver messenger RNA into cells.
“The technology we provide to our partners is lipid nanoparticles and BioNTech and Pfizer are developing a vaccine that’s using a messenger RNA that tells our cells how to make a protein that’s actually found in the COVID-19 virus,” Dr. Thomas Madden, president and CEO of Acuitas Therapeutics, told Global News Monday.
“But the messenger RNA can’t work by itself, it needs a delivery technology to protect this after it’s administered and then to carry it into the cells where it can be expressed and give rise to an immune response.”