Story at a glance

  • Pfizer’s CEO told The Wall Street Journal testing of the vaccine in the United States could begin as early as next week, and it could be ready for emergency use by September.
  • The vaccine was given to 12 participants in Germany.
  • The drug firms said 200 adults between the ages of 18 and 55 will be given different doses of the vaccine candidate in the next phase of the trial.

Pfizer and German pharmaceutical company BioNTech have developed a coronavirus vaccine that could be ready for emergency use as early as September, Pfizer’s CEO told The Wall Street Journal Tuesday

The two pharmaceutical firms said Wednesday they began human trials of the potential vaccine, BNT162, on April 23 in Germany. Twelve participants were given the vaccine and data on the trial is expected as early as June, according to Business Insider


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Pfizer told The Journal testing of the vaccine in the United States could begin as early as next week, pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which the pharmaceutical company says it expects shortly. The FDA has the authority to grant emergency use authorizations for experimental use of treatment during a public-health emergency. 

The drug firms said 200 adults between the ages of 18 and 55 will be given different doses of the vaccine candidate in the next phase of the trial. The companies estimate they could supply millions of vaccine doses by the end of the year. 

But Pfizer and BioNTech aren’t the only firms with a potential coronavirus vaccine in the works. 

Researchers at Oxford University’s Jenner Institute in the UK kicked off human trials of a vaccine last week that showed promise in keeping six rhesus macaques healthy after heavy exposure to the virus. 


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The vaccine is expected to be tested in 6,000 people starting in May. Researchers say if the trial proves to be safe and effective and regulators grant emergency approval, the first few million doses could be available by September. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) earlier this month said there are at least 70 potential coronavirus vaccines in development around the world, as the number of coronavirus cases globally has surpassed three million with more than 224,000 deaths. 

Public health officials, such as Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease expert on the White House’s coronavirus task force, have said it could take 12 to 18 months to develop a vaccine.


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Published on Apr 29, 2020