Pfizer’s Early Data Shows That Their Coronavirus Vaccine Could Be More Than 90% Effective in Preventing the Disease

With Covid-19 cases rising in nearly every region of the country, promising news emerged this morning in the battle against the virus. Drugmaker Pfizer revealed early data from its vaccine trial shows an efficacy rate of more than 90% — welcomed information about a pandemic that has resulted in more than 1.2 million deaths to date.

The details come after the first formal review of the data from an outside panel of experts, who explored 94 infections from a study of nearly 44,000 people. Those participating in the study received either two doses of the vaccine or a placebo. The data indicates that fewer than 10% of infections reported among volunteers were from those who received the vaccine, compared to 90% from participants who received the placebo.

Because the study is still ongoing, the company has yet to disclose how many people in each group had been infected by Covid-19 to date, but the data suggests nearly all reported infections would have to have been in those who received placebo vaccines.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said the results were “just extraordinary” — a much higher efficacy than what had been expected. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla echoed this sentiment in a statement regarding today’s encouraging news. 

“We are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis,” he said. “We look forward to sharing additional efficacy and safety data generated from thousands of participants in the coming weeks.”

In a news release, Pfizer said it will seek emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration once volunteers have been monitored for two months after receiving the second dose of the vaccination. The FDA says this is crucial, as the two-month mark is generally when problems would arise. Given that the study began in July, that should place the window toward the end of this month. Pfizer has not reported any issues from the vaccine thus far.

The study will continue until it reaches infections in at least 164 volunteers in order to provide further insight into how well the vaccine is working. Pfizer has also added a second endpoint to the study, which will evaluate whether the vaccine provides protection in severe cases of Covid-19, as well as whether it can provide long-term protection.