September 14, 2020 7:42:40 am
American pharmaceutical company Pfizer has said it was working towards the possibility of having to make its coronavirus vaccine available in the American market before the current year was out.
Pfizer’s candidate, being developed in partnership with German company BioNTech, is one of the frontrunners in the race to produce a coronavirus vaccine, and is currently undergoing phase-3 trials in the United States.
“We (have) already started manufacturing, and we have already manufactured hundreds of thousands of doses, so just in case we have a good study readout… we will be ready,” company CEO Albert Bourla said in an interview on CBS television network.
Pfizer has previously said it expected to know by October whether its vaccine was effective or not. This was reiterated by Bourla in the interview, and he said there was a 60 per cent chance that by October the company would be able to ascertain how effective its vaccine was.
“Of course that does not mean that it works, that only means that we will know if it works,” Bourla said. The phase-3 trials are expected to continue well beyond October, but the company is hoping that early data would present adequate data to assess its effectiveness.
A day earlier, Pfizer had said it would expand its phase-3 trials to include more volunteers from diverse population groups. The initial plan was to enrol about 30,000 people for the trials. The company said it hoped to achieve that target by next week. But it also unveiled plans to enrol another 14,000 people.
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His comments came just a day after US Food and Drug Administration said it was preparing to grant emergency authorisation to a coronavirus vaccine, when one emerged on the scene. The FDA said it would soon come out with a ‘guidance’ on emergency use authorisation of coronavirus vaccines.
Pfizer’s earlier announcement about the October timeline for assessing effectiveness was one of the triggers that fuelled speculation that a vaccine would be available in the United States before the November 3 Presidential elections. Of course, President Donald Trump has also made several statements to start that speculation.
Hunt for coronavirus vaccine: The story so far
- 180 vaccine candidates in pre-clinical or clinical trials
- 35 of them in clinical trials
- Eight in final stages, phase-III of human trials
- At least eight candidate vaccines being developed in India. Two of these have entered phase -II trials after completing phase-I.
- The ones most talked about:
* AstraZeneca/Oxford University
* Johnson & Johnson
* Russian vaccine, developed by Gamaleya Insttiute in Moscow
(Source: WHO Coronavirus vaccine landscape of September 9, 2020)
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