WebMD News Brief

Pfizer: COVID-19 Vaccine Could Arrive in October

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May 14, 2020 - Pharmaceutical company Pfizer plans to expand human clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine and include thousands of people by September, according to CNBC.

If the trial goes well and the vaccine is safe, the company will “be able to deliver millions of doses in the October timeframe,” Pfizer CEO and Chairman Albert Bourla said Tuesday.

The first doses of the vaccine, called BNT162, were given to humans in Germany, the company announced March 5. Pfizer plans to test about 360 people during this phase of the trial, according to the news release.

Pfizer is testing four different variations of the vaccine. The company should know which is the most safe and effective to move forward in June or July, Bourla told CNBC.

“We are collecting data as we speak in real time so we know,” he said.

The most successful variation will move into the next stage of clinical trials, which could lead to a large-scale study with thousands of participants in September. Following that, the company could produce millions of doses in October and hundreds of millions of doses in 2021, he added.

Several drug companies are racing to make a vaccine. More than 120 vaccines are being developed across the world, according to the World Health Organization.

In general, U.S. health officials have said vaccine development will take 12-18 months. On Tuesday, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said “more likely than not” an effective vaccine will be developed.

“We have many candidates and hope to have multiple winners. In other words, multiple shots on goal,” he said during a Senate testimony focused on the COVID-19 response.

WebMD Health News Brief Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on May 15, 2020

Sources

CNBC, “Pfizer wants to expand human trials of coronavirus vaccine to thousands of people by September, CEO says.”

Pfizer, “Pfizer and BioNTech dose first participants in the U.S. as part of global COVID-19 MRNA vaccine development program.”

World Health Organization, “Update on WHO Solidarity Trial — Accelerating a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.”

U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, “May 12 hearing on COVID-19: Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School.”

 

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