Pfizer Says its COVID-19 Vaccine Will be Ready By the Fall
U.S. Big Pharma company confirms human testing underway in August
Major U.S. Big Pharma company Pfizer said Tuesday that its COVID-19 should be ready by the fall, as human trials are due to soon begin.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the pharmaceutical giant's coronavirus vaccine could be ready for emergency use in a few months' time and available for broader roll out by the end of this year.
The firm says it has already started testing the vaccine on humans with its partner firm BioNTech in Germany and hopes to begin testing in America by August.
Mass manufacturing of doses has already started while trials are underway and the company is aiming to have "hundreds of millions of doses ready for the end of the year."
The development of vaccinations normally takes many months or years but researchers are racing toward human trials amid the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 is not mutating and is similar to other viruses seen in the past, which makes the process easier, scientists say.
In the UK, University of Oxford scientists are also confident they can get their jab for the incurable virus rolled out for millions to use by as early as September.
As many as 100 potential COVID-19 candidate vaccines are now under development by biotech and research teams around the world, and at least five of these are in preliminary testing in people in what is known as Phase 1 clinical trials.
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Pfizer CEO Bourla stated: "This is a crisis right now, and a solution is desperately needed by all."
Many traditional vaccines, such as the MMR jabs given to children in the UK, contain inactivated antigens made by the pathogen, according to The Daily Mail.
Injections of the antigens train the immune system to recognize the tell-tale proteins given off by the virus, to fight it off in the future.
mRNA vaccines - such as the one developed by Pfizer - work slightly differently, and do not directly inject antigens into the body.
Instead, they teach the immune system how to produce them itself by injecting the body with a molecule that tells disease-fighting cells what to build.
Scientists at Imperial College London experts have used a similar technique for their experimental COVID-19 vaccine.
However, theirs relies on self-amplifying RNA, which they claim is effective at "up to 1,000 times lower doses" than mRNA.
Volunteers for Oxford's experimental coronavirus vaccine trial have received their first doses.
Scientists at the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford, have begun the first human trial in Europe by administering the trial injections, which were developed in under three months, to more than 800 volunteers last week.
Last month, Oxford University saw promising results after six rhesus macaque monkeys were injected with a single dose of the university's new vaccine.
Their vaccine contains a virus genetically engineered to look like the coronavirus - to have the same spike proteins on the outside - but be unable to cause any infection inside a person.
This virus is a type of virus called an adenovirus, the same as those which cause common colds, that has been taken from chimpanzees.
Italy's ReiThera, Germany's Leukocare, and Belgium's Univercells said they were working together on another potential shot and aimed to start trials in a few months.
A Swiss scientist said on Thursday he aimed to get ahead of industry projections that a COVID-19 vaccine will take 18 months, with a hope to put his laboratory's version in use in Switzerland this year.
And as more than a dozen US states prepare to gradually ease lockdown measures in order to revive their stagnated economies, many in the US consider a vaccine a sure-fire route to some sense of normality.
However, public health experts have warned other means are necessary.
They suggest ramping up testing into the millions, 100,000 extra healthcare staff to contract trace and isolate people exposed to the virus, and open data exchange is the way to go.
To assist US states in partially lifting or easing lockdown and stay-at-home orders, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has drafted a list of protocols for largely small and medium-size businesses such a restaurants, salons and tattoo parlors to follow.
Depending on the business they include the closure of break rooms, limited numbers of people seated inside restaurants and tables six feet apart, screens affixed to the registers, disposable menus, and plates, and floor markings.
Some schoolchildren will be required to eat lunch inside their classrooms.