Positivity at last
Two good developments have surfaced over the past two days. The Russian sputnik Covid-19 vaccine and the one developed by global drug makers Pfizer and BioNTech have proven their efficacy in dealing with the novel coronavirus.
Particularly, the one developed by Pfizer and BioNTech claims to have achei3eved 95% success during the third and final phase of trial, including in people aged over 65 years, paving the way for the companies to apply for emergency authorisation from US regulators within days.
American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said they have concluded phase 3 study of their mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate BNT162b2, meeting all primary efficacy end points. Based on current projections, the companies expect to produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.
The major announcement comes just two days after another leading biotechnology company Moderna also announced that its virus vaccine had an efficacy rate of 94.5 per cent.
Earlier this month, Pfizer and Biontech had said their COVID-19 vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants.
Analysis of the data indicates a vaccine efficacy rate of 95 per cent in participants without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection (first primary objective) and also in participants with and without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection (second primary objective), in each case measured from seven days after the second dose.
The vaccine efficacy was consistent across age, gender, race and ethnicity demographics. The observed efficacy in adults over 65 years of age was over 94 per cent.
Ironically, hundreds of thousands of people around the globe are infected everyday and places like the national capital Delhi are witnessing a dreaded phase of coronavirus which is creating ripples among the people.
The announcements about the vaccines and their potential availability for use among the general population in the coming weeks and months has offered hope to millions around the world in a year that has seen the COVID-19 pandemic devastate lives and economies and still showing no signs of abating.
So far, the coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 55 million people around the world and killed more than 1.3 million people even as governments implemented strict lockdowns and restrictions to slow the spread of the virus that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
A second wave of infections is threatening to derail economies and impact lives again as countries had gradually begun to ease restrictions and open up.
However, the governments across the globe need to be cautious at this point of time because the vaccine needs extreme low temperatures to be stored in. This means that the facilities need to be created right now so that when the situation arises the health authorities are ready with a plan to execute massive vaccination programmes.