Based on early test results, Pfizer announced Monday that its vaccine with the German drugmaker BioNTech was found to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants without prior evidence of coronavirus infection.
Per a press release, the study began in July and analyzed 43,538 participants — about 42 percent of which are from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds.
As explained by The New York Times on Monday, half of the trial participants got two doses of the vaccine, while the other half got a placebo of salt water. The companies then monitored all of them for coronavirus infection to determine whether the vaccine offered any protection.
Of the 43,538 individuals involved, 94 contracted COVID-19.
After an independent board of experts looked at how many people got the vaccine and how many got the placebo, an early analysis suggests the vaccine is over 90 percent effective.
“Today is a great day for science and humanity. The first set of results from our Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19,” Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
“We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen,” he continued. “With today’s news, we are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis. We look forward to sharing additional efficacy and safety data generated from thousands of participants in the coming weeks.”
The trial is expected to continue until it reaches 164 cases of COVID-19. It will also evaluate how well the vaccine might protect against severe forms of the disease, how long its effectiveness might last, and how well it protects people who have already been infected with coronavirus.
Based on current projections, Pfizer says they hope to globally produce up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021. The vaccine will require two doses per person.