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A “90%” effective anti-covid vaccine

A serum developed by the Pfizer and BioNtech laboratories provides proof of unmatched efficacy to date, according to an announcement Monday from these pharmaceutical groups. But that hope has yet to be confirmed, as the virus has already claimed the lives of 1.2 million people across the world.

A serum developed by the Pfizer and BioNtech laboratories provides proof of unmatched efficacy to date, according to an announcement Monday from these pharmaceutical groups. But that hope has yet to be confirmed, as the virus has already claimed the lives of 1.2 million people across the world.

(Jmh with AFP) – “More than eight months after the start of the worst pandemic in more than a century, we believe that this step represents a significant step forward for the world in our battle against Covid-19”, Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement. US President Donald Trump rejoiced on Twitter: “The stock market is rising sharply, a vaccine is coming soon. 90% efficiency. What excellent news! ”.

The one who will replace him at the White House in early January, Joe Biden, saw in this announcement a sign of “hope” but warned that “the battle against Covid-19” will not be over for “months”. The “vaccine efficacy” of the vaccine from the American Pfizer and the German BioNtech was measured by comparing the number of participants infected with the new coronavirus in the group which received the vaccine and in that under placebo, “seven days after the second dose ”and 28 days after the first, the two companies explained in a joint statement.

These results come from the first interim analysis of their full-scale Phase 3 trial, the last before an application for registration. The Phase 3 trial of the new vaccine, BNT162b2, began in late July and has relied on 43,538 participants to date, 90% of whom have received the second dose of this vaccine candidate on November 8. Pfizer said it is gathering the two months of safety data after the final dose required by the U.S. health authority, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to qualify for emergency use authorization of ‘by the third week of November.

Based on projections, companies plan to deliver up to 50 million doses of vaccines globally in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021. Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of the International Coalition for vaccine development, described these interim results as “extremely positive and encouraging” as “historic”. “We believe that these intermediate results also increase the likelihood of success of other COVID-19 vaccine candidates that use a similar approach,” he noted.

The Pfizer vaccine is, like that of the American biotech Moderna, based on the technique known as messenger RNA, that is to say the molecule that tells our cells what to make. “Safety and efficacy are the two priorities, and each vaccine candidate is rigorously evaluated against these criteria,” recalled Dr Hatchett. The full set of data has yet to be released, points out Eleanor Riley, professor of immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Edinburgh. She underlines in particular that we do not know “the seriousness of the cases (of Covid) observed during the test”. “But, I think we have reason to be cautiously optimistic.”

No vaccine has yet received approval for large-scale commercial distribution. But Chinese authorities have given the green light for emergency use for some of these vaccines. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), ten vaccine clinical trials are currently in phase 3 worldwide, including those of the American biotech Moderna, several Chinese state laboratories and the British AstraZeneca, in collaboration with the university from Oxford. Pfizer and BioNTech are the first to release interim results from these trials.

However, this would be a speed record for the development of a vaccine, less than a year after the appearance of the Sars-Cov-2 coronavirus in China. The European Commission reached an agreement in September to obtain 200 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, with an option for an additional 100 million doses. Agreements with other manufacturers have also been concluded, including the AstraZeneca group and Sanofi-GSK, bringing the overall volume of vaccines expected to some 400 million. Based on its population, Luxembourg should receive 0.14% of the total, or some 420,000 doses, according to information provided at the end of September by Paulette Lenert (LSAP).


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