Pfizer Begins Human Testing of Coronavirus Vaccine in the United States

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Pfizer said Tuesday it has started testing an experimental vaccine to fight coronavirus in the United States.

The US pharmaceutical giant, which works alongside German drug maker BioNTech, said the first human participants in the U.S. had received the potential vaccine, BNT162. They started human trials of the experimental vaccine late last month in Germany.

“With our unique and robust clinical trial program underway, which begins in Europe and now in the United States, we are eager to move forward quickly and in collaboration with our BioNTech partners and regulatory authorities to deliver a safe and effective for patients who need it most, “Pfizer President and CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement.

“The short period of less than four months in which we have been able to move from preclinical studies to human tests is extraordinary,” he added.

The experimental vaccine contains genetic material called messenger RNA or mRNA. MRNA is a genetic code that tells cells what to build – in this case, an antigen that can induce an immune response for the virus.

The trial will test the experimental vaccine on adults between the ages of 18 and 55 before moving on to older groups, the company said, adding that it hopes to test up to 360 people.

There are no FDA-approved therapies to treat Covid-19, and drug manufacturers are rushing to produce a vaccine, which is expected to take at least 12-18 months.

The effort by Pfizer and BioNTech is one of many works on a potential vaccine to prevent Covid-19, which has sickened more than 3.5 million people worldwide and killed at least 247,752 Monday evening, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. There were more than 100 vaccines in development worldwide as of April 30, according to the World Health Organization, with at least eight vaccine candidates already in human trials.

Hopes for a vaccine are high, but scientists expect little from the speed with which it can happen. Developing, testing, and examining any potential vaccine is a long, complex, and expensive undertaking that could take years, according to global health experts.

Biotechnology company Moderna, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, began the first human trials of a potential vaccine in March.

Johnson & Johnson said it aims to produce 600 to 900 million doses of its potential coronavirus vaccine by the end of the first quarter of 2021 if the human trials scheduled to start in September run as planned. planned.

Pfizer hopes to produce “millions” of vaccines by the end of this year, the company’s scientific director, Dr. Mikael Dolsten, told CNBC last month. The company said on Tuesday that it plans to increase to “hundreds of millions” of doses next year.

Sites currently dosing participants include the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said Pfizer. The University of Rochester Medical Center, the Rochester Regional Health Center and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center “will begin enrollment soon,” the company said.

After regulatory approval, Pfizer and BioNTech will work together to market the vaccine worldwide.

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