COVID vaccine 95pc effective: Pfizer/BioNTech

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Pfizer and BioNTech said on Wednesday a completed analysis of their experimental COVID-19 vaccine found it protected 95 per cent of people against the disease and announced they were applying for United States (US) emergency approval “within days”.

The news from the US pharmaceutical company and its German partner brought further hope to a world upended by the coronavirus pandemic, and follows an announcement last week in which they said a preliminary analysis showed the product was 90 per cent effective.

Adding to the encouraging data was that the efficacy was found to be consistent across all age-groups – a primary concern for a disease that hits the elderly the hardest – as well as genders and ethnicities.

“The study results mark an important step in this historic eight-month journey to bring forward a vaccine capable of helping to end this devastating pandemic,” said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

Wednesday’s news came after 170 people fell sick in an ongoing clinical trial of almost 44,000 people – 162 of whom were in a placebo group and eight of whom received the two- dose medicine.

Out of the 170 patients who became sick, 10 developed severe COVID-19 symptoms – nine in the placebo group and one in the vaccine group.

File photo shows the first patient enrolled in Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. PHOTO: AP