Although the date is currently November 9th, it would appear that Christmas might have just come early this year with the stunning announcement that a vaccine for the coronavirus has been discovered. The developers, American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, in partnership with the German biotechnology company BioNTech, are calling this a “great day for science and humanity”.
The vaccine has already gone through trials after being successfully tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no issues have arisen. There are currently around a dozen vaccines in phase 3 trials, the final round of testing, but this one is the first to show promising results with the developers claiming that it can prevent more than 90% of people from contracting the deadly Covid-19.
The companies are moving forward quickly by applying for emergency approval to have this vaccine rolled out by the end of the month at the earliest. Pfizer hopes by the end of the year, they will be able to produce and supply 50 million doses, and by the end of 2021, they hope that number will top 1.3 billion. After such an extraordinary and unprecedented year when this new virus reared it’s head to claim the lives of 243,771 Americans (1,264,050 worldwide), this news comes as a great relief.
It works in two stages as two doses are required but they have to be taken three weeks apart. The vaccine works by injecting the patient with a part of the virus’s genetic code (or RNA) in order to train the immune system. One potential problem posed by the worldwide distribution of the vaccine as it needs to be kept in ultra-cold storage at below minus 80C.
More questions need to be answered as we don’t have details about its effectiveness over the age group range and whether immunization is long-lasting. The results provided are only based on the first 94 volunteers to develop Covid, so when the final analysis comes, the effectiveness could change. Pfizer and BioNTech insist that they will have plenty of safety data to present to regulators in the coming weeks.
Although it is too early to properly celebrate finally finding a vaccine to beat this deadly and contagious virus, many medical professionals are already praising this discovery as a milestone in tackling COVID-19 and the devastation it has brought with it.