Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced on Monday morning that its fledgling COVID-19 vaccine candidate achieved over a 90 percent success rate in preventing participants in its clinical trial from acquiring the novel coronavirus.
The vaccine, developed with the drug company BioNTech, comes in two doses. The New York Times reported on Monday that the company plans to ask the United States’ Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization for the drug, which would allow it to supply 15-20 million doses by the end of the year.
Pfizer and BioNTech’s drug is one of eleven vaccines being developed around the world and the first to report positive results in late-stage clinical trials. It was not part of the United States’ government’s Operation Warp Speed, but the federal government has pledged to pay nearly $2 billion to Pfizer in exchange for 100 million doses.
The drugmaker originally anticipated a verdict on the phase three trials of its vaccine late last month. That date had to be pushed back multiple times due to slower-than-expected testing progress and new submission criteria issued by the FDA.
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Pfizer’s is the first vaccine to make it to this point in trials. Moderna’s drug, which is said to use similar technology, is also close to reporting out its trials. It is possible that multiple vaccines make it to the finish line and get distributed across the United States, which is seeing cases of COVID-19 spike again. Over the weekend, the country surpassed 10 million cases. President-elect Joe Biden is expected to announce a COVID-19 task force on Monday.
Several others, including drugs being developed by Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, have had to pause testing at times due to side effects in participants that required further research and adjustments.