Pfizer ends vaccine trial with 95% success rate, paving way for a shot this year

Final results from Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine trial showed its shot had a 95% success rate and two months of safety data, paving the way for the drugmaker to apply for an emergency U.S. authorization within days, it said on Wednesday.

The vaccine’s efficacy rate, the highest of any candidate in late-stage clinical trials so far, was welcomed by experts who had already said that interim results showing Pfizer’s shot was over 90% effective were very encouraging.

Pfizer said there were 170 cases of COVID-19 in its trial of more than 43,000 volunteers and only eight people with the disease had been given the shot rather than a placebo, meaning the vaccine had a 95% efficacy rate. Of the 10 people who developed severe COVID-19, one had received the vaccine.

“The data is very strong,” said Ian Jones, a professor of virology at Britain’s University of Reading. “It’s looking like a real contender.”

Pfizer said it expected the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee to review and discuss the data in a public meeting that will likely be held in December.

“We continue to move at the speed of science, and we know that every day matters in our path to authorization,” Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla said.

The final analysis comes just a week after initial results from the trial showed the vaccine, developed with German partner BioNTech SE, was more than 90% effective. Moderna Inc on Monday released preliminary data for its vaccine, showing 94.5% effectiveness.

The better-than-expected results from the two vaccines, both developed with new messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, have raised hopes for an end to a pandemic that has killed more than 1.3 million people and wreaked havoc upon economies and daily life.

However, while some groups such as healthcare workers will be prioritized in the United States for vaccinations this year, it will be months before large-scale rollouts begin.

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