Pfizer vaccine could be given to Americans before year-end, CEO says

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Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine could be distributed to Americans before the end of the year if it proves safe and effective, CEO Albert Bourla said Sunday.The drugmaker is expected to have key data from its advanced stage trial for the Food and Drug Administration by the end of October, Bourla said in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation”. If the FDA approves the vaccine, the company is ready to distribute “hundreds of thousands of doses,” he said.

Due to the pandemic, U.S. health officials and drugmakers have accelerated the development of vaccine candidates by investing in multiple stages of research, although it could be pointless if the vaccine ends up not being effective or safe. .

The American pharmaceutical giant works alongside the German manufacturer BioNTech. In July, the U.S. government announced it would pay companies $ 1.95 billion to produce and deliver 100 million doses of their vaccine if it is found to be safe and effective. The deal was signed as part of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s effort to accelerate the development and production of vaccines and treatments to fight the coronavirus.

Bourla said on Sunday that the company had already invested $ 1.5 billion for the development of the potential vaccine. He said if the vaccine didn’t work, it would be financially “hard” for the company.

“At the end of the day, it’s just money. But that won’t break the business, even if it’s going to be painful, ”he said.

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

Pfizer is one of three companies currently testing an advanced vaccine. The other two are Moderna and AstraZeneca, who announced on Saturday that he would resume his trial after temporarily suspending him for security reasons.

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

The developments come as infectious disease experts and scientists have said in recent weeks that they fear President Donald Trump will press the FDA to approve a vaccine before it is properly tested. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, insisting he was not under pressure from Trump to speed up a vaccine rollout, told the Financial Times last month that the agency was ready to bypass the full federal approval process in order to make a Covid-19 vaccine available as soon as possible.

On September 8, nine pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, released a letter pledging to prioritize safety and maintain “the integrity of the scientific process” in their efforts to develop vaccines against coronaviruses.

Even if a vaccine is approved for distribution before the end of the year, it will likely be in short supply. The vaccine will likely require two doses at varying intervals, and states still face logistical challenges such as setting up distribution sites and acquiring enough needles, syringes and bottles needed for vaccinations. .

Earlier this month, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine released a draft proposal to distribute a vaccine in the United States if and when a vaccine is approved for public use. The report was commissioned by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The vaccine would be distributed in four phases, with health workers, the elderly and people with underlying health conditions being vaccinated first, the group said. Essential workers, teachers and people in homeless shelters as well as incarcerated people would be next on the list, followed by children and young adults.

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