Pharmaceutical company Pfizer had recently announced that its vaccine was more than 90% effective against coronavirus. The company is working on the vaccine in partnership with German Lab BioNTech. European Union has now entered into a formal agreement to purchase up to 300 million doses of coronavirus vaccines from these companies.
The vaccines will be first tested for safety, and if it is found to be effective against the coronavirus, the EU will be buying up to 200 million doses in the first stage and another 100 million doses later.
Recent developments have indicated that the Pfizer vaccine is one of the best options available as of now to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Even though it is not completely effective in every case, results are positive in most cases, and it can be safely used without any hassles.
The announcement from Pfizer has clearly mentioned that it has taken a look at the data in a detailed manner and found that 90% of the cases showed a lot of improvement, and the overall progress was beyond their expectation.
Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, said that this was the most significant medical advancement in the last 100 years, and it will change the future of millions of people across the world. The EU contract is a huge morale booster for the company as it will buy about 200 million doses in the initial phase and then buy another 100 million doses if they need them at a later stage.
Once the vaccine is approved by the European Medical Agency, the company will start delivering the medicines to the EU, and it will be used across the region to manage the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The deliveries are expected to begin by the end of this year, and it will continue for many months depending on the situation of Covid 19 in the European region.
Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech, said that they were looking forward to supplying millions of people with the much-needed vaccine as soon as they get regulatory approval from the relevant agencies. He added that a joint effort was the need of the hour, and they will be able to develop a safe and effective vaccine that can end the pandemic in the near future. The company is collaborating with US pharma company Pfizer to work on the coronavirus vaccine.
The unique thing about the vaccine is that it uses mRNA, also called messenger RNA, to trigger the immune response in people who use the vaccine. This technology was never approved before, and this is the first time that mRNA technology is used to develop any vaccine.
Talking to reporters, Ugur Sahin said that they plan to work in coordination with Pfizer to boost the production of the vaccine in the near future. The company expects to produce more than 1 billion doses of coronavirus vaccine by the end of next year. However, everything depends on the company getting authorization from the relevant authorities. So far, the company has declared that its vaccine is more than 90% effective against coronavirus. As there is no proven vaccine that is better than this as of now, many healthcare agencies may approve the vaccine in the next few months.
Pfizer, along with BioNTech, has even planned to approach the US FDA to authorize emergency use of the vaccine, and it would be interesting to see if they can manage to get the nod from the FDA. The companies are expected to put the proposal in front of the US FDA next week in order to get authorization for the use of vaccines in emergency cases.
Normally, it would take more than a couple of years to develop a vaccine as it has to undergo lots of trials. Not only that, it has to get approvals from different agencies at every stage of the research. However, as the coronavirus was a novel virus that wreaked havoc across the world, many health agencies gave permission to skip a few unnecessary steps in an effort to develop the vaccine in a quick time. Due to this reason, companies like Pfizer were able to develop a vaccine as early as six months after the pandemic first began its wave in the months of March and April.
Many scientists say that the coronavirus is under the second wave in several regions of Europe, as there is a drastic increase in the number of cases in recent weeks. The pandemic had somewhat slowed down in Europe during September. However, as the cold season began recently, there is a drastic increase in numbers and many countries are suffering from a healthcare crisis due to the second wave of the pandemic.
Countries like France are at risk of facing a severe shortage of ICU beds, and this will create a health crisis in the next few weeks if the number of cases does not go down. Estimates say that close to 90% of the intensive care beds in the country are full at the moment. Considering the everyday cases of coronavirus in the last one week, there may be a severe shortage of ICU beds in the next month. This also coincides with the holiday season, and there can be a huge outbreak if people are not careful during the year end holiday season.
Apart from Pfizer and BioNTech, several other pharma giants are also working on coronavirus vaccines, and many of them are close to coming out with a tested vaccine in the next few months. Many healthcare analysts believe that we may have more than one option with regards to coronavirus vaccines in the near future, and this is a good development as people will have a choice. Not only that, but this will also mean that everyone will have access to the vaccines at the right time.
Many countries do not have advanced healthcare centers to conduct research, and they are also in need of vaccines. A properly coordinated effort from different countries will ensure that we can eliminate coronavirus in the next few years with a proven vaccine.