Pfizer and BioNTech began testing on healthy volunteers to fight COVID-19 disease. From the laboratories they assure that it could be ready in December.
A vaccine that could be ready by the fall of the year -that is, before the end of the year- began to be tested on 360 people, as announced by the pharmaceutical companies that are leading the experiments together with the University of Maryland and the University of New York , in the United States . The development was developed by the companies Pfizer and BioNTech that announced the application of the first four types of doses in volunteers free of the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease .
The clinical trial will help researchers assess whether the vaccine is safe, who produces the strongest immune response that could defend against the deadly strain, and what the efficient dose should be to treat the disease. The companies – North American and German, respectively – are hopeful that the tests will be positive and that it can be ready before the end of the year .
The results of the studies on the 360 volunteers could be at the end of this month . However, the vaccine will still have to wait: it will have to be tested on more patients before it goes into another phase, according to safety protocols, Kathrin Jansen , head of vaccine development for Pfizer , revealed to The Wall Street Journal . The experiment will enable the pharmaceutical giant to determine which of the four drugs will be the most effective in preventing COVID-19.
The lab’s plan, according to Jansen , is clear to them: ” Eliminate, eliminate, and eliminate … focus on what’s good and move on. It is a quick elimination . ” In this phase, the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines will be applied to adults 18 to 55 years old. Eventually older volunteers could be recruited. After receiving the first dose, patients should wait three weeks before a second dose is applied.
The vaccine – like all those in progress, such as that of Moderna or the University of Oxford – uses a gene-based technology known as messenger RNA. Messenger RNA, or mRNA, carries instructions from DNA to cells in the body to make certain proteins. An mRNA vaccine has never been approved to prevent infectious diseases .
The announcement of this new vaccine
Pfizer announced last Tuesday that it has accelerated the timing of its research to develop a vaccine against the new coronavirus and, if the next successful steps, could have it ready for use in emergencies starting in the fall of autumn (late September). The company, which is working alongside BioNTech SE on the project, had already started testing in Germany. And he indicated that, if he obtains official approval from the United States government, he could continue with the tests in his territory starting next week .
“This is a crisis and we all desperately need a solution,” said company CEO Albert Bourla. The vaccine is based on messenger RNA technology, which carries DNA instructions for cells in the human body to make certain proteins .
All timelines considered normal in the processes for developing and approving vaccines have been significantly accelerated as a consequence of the impact of the pandemic. Countless health authorities have warned that the minimum period to develop a vaccine ranges from 12 to 18 months at best. And that the average time between the first testing phase and its arrival on the market is almost 11 years, with a success rate of 6 percent .
Another actor who has announced progress in his search for the vaccine is the Jenner Institute at Oxford University. In his case, the scientists assured that, in the most optimistic scenario and with emergency approvals, they could have the first million doses in September. “That is our timeline. It will be difficult to do, but not impossible, ”said the institute’s director, Adrian Hill .