Pfizer, BioNTech say their COVID-19 vaccine is more than 90% effective

November 9, 2020 - 8:28 PM
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Vials with a sticker reading, "COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only" and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed Pfizer logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020. (Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo)

Pfizer Inc said on Monday its experimental vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 based on initial data from a large study, a major victory in the fight against the pandemic.

Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE are the first drugmakers to show successful data from a large-scale clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine.

Following are reactions to the news.

Ian Jones, Professor of Virology at University of Reading, Britain

“Of all the vaccines currently in development the BioNtech product always looked like the most bang-per-buck as it is entirely focused on the part of the virus that binds to the human cell, the receptor binding domain.

“The only things we will not know for some time is the longevity of the response in all age groups, but assuming antibody titres are high that should be at least as good as any other vaccine currently in trial.”

Florian Krammer, Professor at the Department of Microbiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, USA

“These are fantastic results. The efficacy could be higher than expected, and this probably means that – at least in the U.S. – there will be an application for approval very soon. Of course, it would be better to see age-specific data, but I suspect that these will be published soon. Frankly, this is the best news I have received since Jan. 10.”

Marylyn Addo, Head of Tropical Medicine Section, University Medical Center Eppendorf (Uke), Hamburg, Germany

“These are interesting first signals, but again they are only communicated in press releases. Primary data are not yet available and a peer-reviewed publication is still pending. We still have to wait for the exact data before we can make a final assessment. At present, there are still few details about the exact data, for example regarding different age groups and in which groups the 94 cases occurred exactly.”

Bernd Salzberger, Head of Infectiology, University Hospital Regensburg, Germany

“In the Pfizer/Biontech press release, the Phase II/III placebo-controlled observer-blinded study with the vaccine BNT162b2 reported a vaccine efficacy of over 90%. Although only a few events – a total of 94 cases – have been observed in the study so far, this is a very good result. No serious side effects have been reported – overall a very positive result, which will probably lead to an early approval.”

Gerd Faetkenheuer, Head of Infectiology, Clinic I for Internal Medicine, University Hospital Cologne, Germany

“These are great and promising data. It is incredible that in such a short period of time this progress with the development of a vaccine and clinical trials within a few months has been achieved. The results on efficacy and safety so far are excellent.

“I think this will have a major impact on our handling of the pandemic and I hope that large quantities of the vaccine will be available quickly. The researchers involved can only be congratulated”.

Danny Altmann, Professor of Immunology at Imperial College London

In terms of the impact on the COVID-19 pandemic, “it’s good news, but it’s not ‘overnight success’ good news”.

Altmann cautioned that this and other potentially successful vaccines would still need to be approved and delivered to people across the world, and this will still take many months.

He added, however: “I always felt optimistic, and my optimism remains strong.”

Carsten Brzeski, Global Head of Macro, ING

“The bigger driver of the economic outlook is from the outside factors. Right now that means the development of a vaccine, which is why we are following news on this front closely.”

“The base case we have already is that we are likely to get a vaccine by year-end and that it will be rolled out. So we do see news like this as positive. The worrying sign would be if we get negative news say on testing, that would hurt how we view the economic outlook.” —Reuters Global News Desk