Many experts and politicans welcomed the news. They referred to it as a "reason for optimism for 2021."
After months of dealing with the catastrophic effects of the pandemic, there has been a recent breakthrough in finding an effective vaccine to prevent the coronavirus. According to the BBC, the first milestone vaccine developed against the virus was found to prevent more than 90 percent of the participants from getting the illness.
Pfizer and BioNTech, who developed the vaccine, stated it was a "great day for science and humanity".
“We would be giving vaccine to people very likely before the end of this year.” - Dr. Fauci https://t.co/JJLsLsTlMk— Complex (@Complex) November 10, 2020
"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," said Dr. Albert Bourla, the chairman of Pfizer. Prof. Ugur Sahin, one of the founders of BioNTech referred to the vaccine as a "milestone."
It has been tested on around 43,500 people in six countries and the preliminary analysis claimed there were no safety concerns.
According to the data obtained from their trials in the US, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, and Turkey, two doses should be given with a gap of three weeks between each dose. 90 percent protection was achieved seven days after the second dose.
Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine, still being tested, may be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19. Here's a look at how - and how soon - this and other possible vaccines could make their way to the market. https://t.co/39IPzSJw9l— The Associated Press (@AP) November 10, 2020
Meanwhile, the data obtained is not the final analysis as it is based on the first 94 volunteers to contract the virus. The exact effectiveness of the vaccine can only be understood after the full results are analyzed. Pfizer and BioNTech claimed they will have the complete safety data by the third week of November.
On the other hand, the developers are aiming to seek emergency approval for the vaccine to make it available at the end of the month. The companies stated they are equipped to supply 50 million doses by the end of 2020 and about 1.3 billion by the end of 2021.
UPDATE: Pfizer CEO Says CoVID-19 Vaccine ‘Will Be Available for Free to All American Citizens’ https://t.co/A4JS0hk8kD— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) November 10, 2020
While it is clear not many would be able to access the vaccine this year, the decision of who will receive the vaccine is still unclear, as countries are yet to decide who should be prioritized. At present, the medical community is likely to be on the top of the list.
Though the development of the vaccine has taken the world one step closer in the fight against the virus, there still remains a lot of unanswered questions. It is not yet clear if the vaccine can stop the virus from spreading or if it works equally well for high-risk elderly people. It is also not known how long the immunity would last.
Despite these unanswered queries and worries, many experts and political leaders came forward to welcome the news.
UK's chief medical advisor Prof Chris Whitty tweeted, "Preliminary news that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is effective demonstrates the power of science against COVID. We must see the final safety and efficacy data, but it is very encouraging." He continued, "It is essential we continue to suppress COVID, but it is a reason for optimism for 2021."
U.S president-elect, Joe Biden referred to the development as "excellent news", but he also warned people saying, "It is also important to understand that the end of the battle against Covid-19 is still months away."
Prof. Peter Horby, from the University of Oxford said, "It is a relief... there is a long long way to go before vaccines will start to make a real difference, but this feels to me like a watershed moment."