A vaccine candidate jointly developed by the German pharmaceutical company BioNTech SE and the U.S. company Pfizer Inc. has proved to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 infection in participants with no proven previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, the two companies announced on Monday.
Furthermore, no serious side effects have been observed based on first interim results from the ongoing Phase 3 clinical study conducted by an external, independent Data Monitoring Committee (DMC), according to their joint statement.
The Phase 3 study of the vaccine candidate BNT162b2 started at the end of July. As of last Sunday, 38,955 volunteers had already received the second dose of the vaccine.
The two companies are planning to submit their potential COVID-19 vaccine candidate for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the third week of November.
The progress made by BioNTech and Pfizer was “very encouraging,” German Minister of Health Jens Spahn said during a press conference on Monday.
With the latest developments, it is now probable to have “a vaccine against a new virus as quickly as never before in human history,” said Spahn.
As the world is struggling to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, countries including Germany, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are racing to find a vaccine.
According to the website of the World Health Organization, as of Nov. 3, there were 202 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 47 of them were in clinical trials.