Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine candidate, which is an mRNA-based vaccine that essentially provides a recipient's body with instructions on how to produce specific proteins to block the ability of SARS-CoV-19 (the virus that causes COVID-19) to attach to cells.
About 42% of global participants and 30% of U.S. participants in the Phase 3 study have racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, the companies said in a news release, and 41% of global and 45% of United States participants are ages 56 to 85. The American laboratory Pfizer and the German, BioNTech, have indeed revealed to have found a vaccine "90% effective" against the Coronavirus adding that it is a "great day for humanity and science".
The government will allocate the vaccines to states proportionally based on population, Alex Azar, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.
The final trial data showed the vaccine provided a similar level of protection across different ages and ethnicities - an encouraging result as the disease disproportionately hurts the elderly and minorities.
"The Pfizer vaccine, for example, needs ultra-low temperature, and there's a whole delivery system for how that will work, and it's a bit of a fussy vaccine in terms of the dose that it's getting and how it's reconstituted".
They'll recommend not just whether FDA should allow broader use of the vaccine generally but if so, for whom.
On the other hand, the Pfizer-BioNTech doses are much smaller - 30 micrograms to Moderna-NIH's 100 micrograms - probably lowering production costs per dose. A Forbes report speculates that "demand for treatments is likely to remain strong through the winter and possibly until the vaccine is administered at scale - a process that could take at least a year or two". Then there's the massive issue of availability. Pfizer is promising 50 million doses by the end of the year.
Perhaps one of the biggest problems is that wealthy countries have already swooped in to buy up the first batches that will be ready.
Even after the FDA authorizes a vaccine, it will be several months before the general public is able to get vaccinated at their local pharmacies. Globally, Pfizer has estimated it could have 50 million doses available by year's end.
On Wednesday, Pfizer said it had offered to provide Brazil with millions of doses in the first half of 2021.
There are hundreds of vaccines in development around the world, and about a dozen in the final stages of testing, known as phase three.
In recent tests, both drug makers reported their vaccines were about 95 percent effective.
The Sputnik vaccine, developed in Russian Federation, has also released early data from phase three based on a smaller number of volunteers and Covid cases. It can, however, be kept in normal refrigeration for up to five days, or up to 15 days in a thermal shipping box.
"This will not replace hygienic measures - it will be an adjunct to hygienic measures", Dr. Paul Offit, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Federal Drug Administration's vaccine advisory panel, recently underscored to the Times. In particular, Fauci said, the U.S. government has been working with Moderna for years on the development of mRNA technology.