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Covid-19 Vaccines

Pfizer study new data: easy to understate this success!

Pfizer released earlier today the full data from their trial which they had press released just 9 days ago. These updated results are very reassuring and in this brief post I will point out the extent of this achievement.

What’s new?

  • There are now data on double the number of cases compared to that which Pfizer presented last week
  • The results remain (or are indeed more) impressive with just a handful of cases in the active vaccine group compared with 162 in the placebo group
  • Of the 10 ‘severe’ cases both groups, only 1 was in the active vaccine group
  • Again very few side effects with 1 in 30 reporting significant fatigue and 1 in 50 headache after the second vaccine dose
  • Interestingly these side effects were greater in the younger participants

Pfizer commented on the success of the vaccine in older people

  • Without giving the numbers of cases they quote an overall reduction in the number of cases of 94% in those aged over 65
  • There was similar benefit in all ethnic groups studied – an important finding as the infection does appear to be more severe in many ethnic minority groups

Why am I so optimistic?

  • Yes, of course we don’t know how long the immunity will last for as well as about long term side effects
  • These data though are so remarkably similar to the Moderna data that they provide a very convincing case for the success of the novel RNA approach to vaccine production
  • In theory, because this vaccine does not contain any actual whole virus, it should be much safer than the standard approach to vaccine production
  • Albeit this is only a short extra time since their initial analysis but the USA is in the middle of a major wave of infection which is exactly when one would want a vaccine to work
  • Worldwide demand for vaccines will outstrip availability until may be the middle of next year but there are an amazing number of vaccine developers who are also proceeding down the mRNA route (see below)
List of RNA vaccines in development from WHO
  • This is so important as Covid-19 is unlikely to be the last Corona virus pandemic to hit us. Knowing we have a means of producing a vaccine in such a quick time takes away (I think) some of the overarching concern that we are sitting on a volcano that can erupt again

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3 replies on “Pfizer study new data: easy to understate this success!”

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