Pfizer and BioNTech develop first effective COVID-19 vaccine

Pfizer and BioNTech develop first effective COVID-19 vaccine
EJ
Emeh Joy

The pharmaceutical and biotech companies Pfizer and BioNTech have successfully rolled out the first effective COVID-19 vaccine which offers 90% protection against coronavirus, a preliminary study shows.

Pfizer and BioNTech talking about this incredible feat said, "it is a great day for science and humanity".

According to a BBC report, so far, the vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries, and no safety concerns have been raised.

Even though there are still hurdles to be crossed, the announcement has been welcomed with joy even as scientists have already started hoping that life and activities would be back to normal by spring.

Sir John Bell, a professor of medicine at Oxford University, said, "I am probably the first guy to say that, but I will say that with some confidence".

The COVID-19 vaccine developer companies, Pfizer and BioNTech, plan to apply for emergency approval for the use of the vaccine by the end of the month.

The journey to developing an effective coronavirus vaccine

In the past months of 2020, restrictions of various sorts have been placed on our lives. The COVID-19 pandemic threw the global world into a lockdown state.

A vaccine accompanied by better treatment plans has been seen as the best way to get us out of the restrictions and lockdown phase.

There are currently about a dozen coronavirus vaccines which are in the final stage of testing (phase 3 trial). However, so far, this vaccine by Pfizer and BioNTech is the first to show positive results.

This makes use of an experimental approach where you inject part of the virus's genetic code so as to train the immune system.

Trials carried out in the past showed that the vaccine trains and triggers the body to make antibodies and also causes the T-cells, which is another constituent of the immune system to fight the coronavirus.

For the vaccine, two doses, three weeks apart, are needed. The trials carried out in Germany, the United States, Brazil, South Africa, Argentina, and Turkey showed that 90% protection is achieved seven days after the second dose is administered.

However, one of the logical challenges includes the fact that the vaccine has to be kept in ultra-cold storage at below -80C.

What is the next step after the COVID-19 vaccine discovery?

The coronavirus vaccine data at the moment is not the final analysis. Pfizer and BioNTech hopes to have enough safety data by the third week of November

Pfizer believes it should be able to supply 50 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine by the end of this year, 2020 and about 1.2 billion doses by the end of 2021.

The UK should get 10 million doses by the end of the year, with additional 30 million doses which have been pre-ordered for later.

Dr Albert Bourla, the Chairman of Pfizer, speaking about the coronavirus vaccine development said;

"We are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needing breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis".

The data presented at the moment is not the final analysis. It is only based on the first 94 volunteers to develop COVID, and the precise effectiveness of the vaccine might change when the full results are analysed.

Pfizer and BioNTech said they should have enough safety data by the third week of November in order to take the vaccine to regulators. In the meantime, countries cannot commence vaccination campaigns.

The UK Prime Minister's official spokesman said the results were promising, adding that "the NHS stands ready to begin a vaccination program for those most at risk once a COVID-19 vaccine is available".

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