The 9th of November 2020 was a milestone day in the development of a potentially effective Covid-19 vaccination with developers Pfizer and BioNTech reporting promising initial results from their recent trial.
43,500 people were involved in the trial, based across six different countries, and significantly no safety concerns were raised with the vaccine being found to prevent more than 90% of people from getting Covid-19.
The developers now plan to apply for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month, with potentially 50 million doses available by the end of the year.
Pfizer chief executive, Albert Bourla, started that it was “a great day for science and humanity.” It was also an excellent day for the stock market with extra confidence and optimism that the economic crisis might be ended by mass vaccination pushing the FTSE up by almost 5% or £70bn.
The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine involves injecting part of the virus's genetic code in order to train the immune system to make both antibodies and T-cells to fight the coronavirus. It is thought that each individual will need two does for the vaccine to be effective, separated by a period of 21-28 days.
It is not currently known whether it will stop individuals spreading the virus or just from developing symptoms. Nor is it known how long the immunity will last. Such answers will no doubt be addressed in the coming months but what is clear is that this a major leap forward in a battle to control the global pandemic.
Professor Chris Whitty (Chief Medical Officer) has described the update as ‘very encouraging’ with our
Prime Minister going one step further in suggesting the news was a sign ‘the scientific cavalry was on its way.’ With around a dozen other vaccines in the final stages of testing it remains possible that further equally encouraging and positive results will be announced in the near future.
As we all tackle the challenges of a second lockdown the future suddenly looks a little brighter and, for perhaps the first time, the end might just be in sight.