Drug company, Pfizer, produces promising vaccine for Covid-19

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Daniel Schludi

Pfiver produces first vaccine for Covid-19, as FDA pushes company towards late stage of trial

Analei Berger, Reporter

Starting in March of 2020, Covid-19 has changed life as we know it forever. With the number of coronavirus cases in Texas alone surpassing one million, a vaccine would be a crucial turning point during the global pandemic.

On November 9, Pfizer, a drug maker, announced that the company is in the early analysis stage of their coronavirus vaccine. Early trials indicated promising signs of a developing vaccine and provides some good news during this ongoing pandemic. Pfizer developed their vaccine with another German-based drug maker called BioNTech. Pfizer released that the current vaccine has over a 95% Covid prevention rate to those trial volunteers who had no prior Covid-19 infections; if those results are to maintain constant, it would mean a highly effective vaccine.

The company says that there have been no reported safety concerns with the vaccine. If one were to get this Covid vaccine, it would be administered in two doses that are roughly three weeks apart. In order for Pfizer to distribute this drug to the public, the company needs to ask the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an emergency authorization in late November. If this request is accepted, they would have to collect at least two months of safety data. As of now, the companies have not released whether or not the vaccine would prevent the severe cases as well as if the vaccine prevents symptoms all together. It is still early in development of this vaccine and there is still much more research to be done.

With further testing and finalization, the manufacturing rate could provide doses for up to 15-20 million people by the end of the year. As of now, this would be the first coronavirus vaccine of its kind to make it to the late stages of trial.

“I don’t want to dampen any enthusiasm for this vaccine. I just want us to be realistic. For a vaccine to really have maximal impact, it’s going to have to also reduce severe illness and death. And we just don’t know yet,” Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Diseases Research, said.

Roughly 44,000 people participated in these trials, where half got a placebo of just saltwater while the other half received the actual vaccine. Out of those 44,000 people, only 94 of them got Covid-19. The trials were blind, so neither the doctors nor volunteers knew which group they were in, the only people that knew were an independent board. These are good results considering that as of now the FDA has set a 50% standard for a company to be able to submit their vaccine for an emergency authorization.

If Pfizer’s vaccine got the emergency authorization from the FDA, it would be distributed to millions, whom will be monitored closely by the CDC and FDA to ensure there are no severe side effects. As far as the people who were part of the trials of the vaccine, they will continue to be watched for the next two years. Back in May Pfizer administered four different vaccines to volunteers and of those four vaccines, they picked the vaccine that had the least amount of major side effects. Some of the side effects that have been reported have been fatigue and a slight fever.

Once the vaccine is ready to be distributed to the public, there have been some debates on who will receive it the earliest. Some say the vaccine should go first and foremost to all of the nurses and doctors who work around the virus daily. While others say that it should be administered to those who are most at risk whom include the elderly and people with certain underlying health conditions. It has been undecided the order in which distribution will occur as of yet, and Pfizer is predicted to make a decision once the FDA approves of this vaccine.

Pfizer and BioNTech are not the only companies that have a vaccine in the late stages of testing. There are ten others around the world and with the success of Pfizer’s vaccine, it is making others optimistic and encouraging of the fact that maybe there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Some of the other countries that currently have their own clinical trials are: England, China, Thailand, Singapore, India and South Korea.

If there is more than one vaccine available around the world, it could help aid in the demand of vaccines compared to if there was only one working vaccine. While the pandemic is nowhere near over, this is a good sign that one day life before the pandemic could become the new normal.