Pfizer Coronavirus Vaccine: Company Reveals Timeline
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech are reporting encouraging signs from its very early testing of a possible COVID-19 vaccine
The first of four experimental COVID-19 vaccines being tested by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech showed encouraging results in very early testing of 45 people, the companies said Wednesday.
Study volunteers given either a low or medium dose, in two shots about a month apart, had immune responses in the range expected to be protective, when compared to some COVID-19 survivors, according to the preliminary results.
Side effects were typical for vaccines, mostly pain at the injection site and fever.
The report has been submitted for publication in a scientific journal but not yet reviewed. With its other potential candidates still in the earliest stage of testing, Pfizer aims to open a large-scale study this summer but can’t yet say which shot is best to include.
But researchers didn’t administer a second shot of the highest dose initially tested, sticking with the low and medium doses. The higher-dose shot caused more injection reactions without apparent added benefit.
About 15 different COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in human testing worldwide, with several poised to begin huge, last-stage studies to prove if they really work.
Different companies are pursuing different types of vaccines, boosting the odds that at least one approach might work — although there’s no guarantee. The Pfizer and BioNTech candidates use a piece of the coronavirus genetic code to prime the body to recognize and attack the virus.
Earlier this week, Inovio Pharmaceuticals issued a news release saying its gene-based vaccine candidate showed encouraging results in similar early testing in 40 volunteers.
Pfizer and BioNTech coronavirus vaccine delivers promising immune response in trial
After Inovio’s promising coronavirus vaccine results earlier this week, Pfizer and BioNTech announced similar results for an ongoing Phase 1/2 clinical trial. The two companies started the US part of the trial in early May, days after a similar test began in Germany. The scientists observed neutralizing antibodies in volunteers who received the BNT162b1 drug that were at higher levels than similar antibodies from COVID-19 survivors. The vaccine candidate encodes an optimized SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding (RBD) antigen, and the immune system creates antibodies that should be able to block the virus from binding to cells, thus preventing infection.
BNT162b1 is the most advanced of four vaccine candidates from BioNTech’s BNT162 mRNA vaccine program. Each of them uses a unique combination of mRNA and target antigen, the two companies explained in a press release.