The founders of biotechnology firm (BioNTech), Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci, and their partner, the U.S pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer, has recorded a great breakthrough in developing a pacesetter corona virus vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is said to be 90% effective at protecting people who are infected by the virus, compared to the placebo saline shot that was earlier administered.
Of all the four corona virus vaccines in the last stages of testing in the United States so far, Pfizer is a major breakthrough that could help bring the pandemic to an end, thereby, breaking every scientific speed record.
Reacting to the development, Pfizer CEO, Albert Bourla, tagged the discovery as great for humanity.
It is a great day for science, it is a great day for humanity. When you realize your vaccine has 90% effectiveness, that is overwhelming. There is a now a light at the end of the tunnel
Bourla also described the vaccine as the ‘’the greatest medical advance” in the last 100 years.
The Head of Vaccine Research and Development at Pfizer, Kathrin Jansen, described the discovery of the vaccine as ‘’historical.’’
I would say it’s a historical moment. Something like this has never happened before. First of all, the world was faced with such a terrible situation, the pandemic, and being able in such a short time to go through what usually takes many years, hearing that at the interim analysis we are over 90 percent effective — it was almost stunning to hear
When quizzed on the side effects of the vaccine, Jansen stated that the side-effect profile of the vaccine was similar to what was reported in an earlier study, which includes pain at the injection site, fatigue, chills and fever. And it occurs more frequently in younger trial participants than in adults over age 65.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine makes use of a new and untested strategy. It consists of a shot of genetic information, in the form of Ribonucleic Acid (RNA). As soon as the vaccine is injected, the person’s cells proceed to use that genetic information to manufacture a portion of the virus, called the “spike protein,” setting off an immune response. One major demerit of the RNA vaccines is that, they need to be kept at ultra-cold temperatures, thereby, complicating their distribution. And, they are also cumbersome to manufacture.
According to Pfizer, they only have enough supply to vaccinate about 20million people by the end of 2020. The company anticipates that by the end of 2021, there will be 1.3 billion doses—enough to vaccinate about 650 million people, considering that each person gets two doses.
New York Times
MIT Technology Reviews