CEO says Pfizer vaccine may be given to Americans before year end

Albert Borla, Pfizer

Gian Ehrenzeller | Keystone | AP

CEO Albert Borla said Pfizer’s coronovirus vaccine could be distributed to Americans before the end of the year.

The drugmaker should have the main data for its final phase of testing for the Food and Drug Administration by the end of October, Borla said during an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” If the FDA approved the vaccine, the company is set to deliver “hundreds of thousands of doses”.

Due to the epidemic, US health officials and drug manufacturers are accelerating the development of vaccine candidates by investing in multiple stages of research, although doing so may be for naught if the vaccine is not effective or safe.

The US pharmaceutical giant is working with German drugmaker BioNotech. In July, the US government announced that if it proves to be safe and effective, it would pay the companies $ 1.95 billion and distribute 100 million doses of their vaccine. The operation was signed as part of Operation Tana Speed, with the Trump administration making efforts to accelerate the development and production of vaccines and treatments to fight coronovirus.

Borla said on Sunday that the company had already invested $ 1.5 billion to develop a potential vaccine. He said it would be financially “painful” for the company if the vaccine failed to work.

“At the end of the day, it’s only money. But it won’t break the company, although it’s going to be painful,” he said.

Pfizer’s experimental vaccine contains genetic material called messenger RNA or mRNA, which scientists hope stimulates the immune system to fight the virus.

Pfizer is one of three companies currently undergoing late-stage testing for the vaccine. The other two are Modern and AstraZeneca, which announced on Saturday that it would resume its trial after being temporarily halted for safety reasons.

On Saturday, Pfizer submitted a proposal to the FDA to expand the late-stage trial to include 44,000 participants, a significant increase from its previous target of 30,000.

The development comes as infectious disease experts and scientists have said in recent weeks that they are worried that President Donald Trump is pressuring the FDA to approve a vaccine before it is adequately tested. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahan stressed that he was not being pressured by Trump to fast-track a vaccine, with the Financial Times reporting that last month, the agency bypassed the full federal approval process to produce the Kovid-19 vaccine. Is ready to do. As much as possible.

On September 8, nine pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, issued a letter stating that they would prioritize safety and maintain “integrity of the scientific process” in their efforts to develop the coronary vaccine.

Even if a vaccine is approved to be delivered before the end of the year, it will likely be in short supply. The vaccine will require two doses at different intervals, and states still face logistic challenges such as establishing distribution sites and acquiring needles, syringes, and bottles needed for vaccination.

Earlier this month, the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine issued a draft proposal to distribute the vaccine in the US when one is approved for public use. This report was requested by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the group, the vaccine will be delivered in four stages, with health care workers, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions first being vaccinated. Essential staff, teachers and people in homeless shelters, as well as people in prisons, will be on the list, followed by children and young adults.