U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and German biotech BioNTech said they began their late-stage human trial for a potential coronavirus vaccine on Monday as pharmaceutical companies race to win regulatory approval before the end of the year.
Shares of Pfizer rose more than 3% in after-hours trading Monday. BioNTech was up more than 2%.
The trial will include up to 30,000 participants between the ages of 18 and 85 across 120 sites globally, including 39 U.S. states, the companies announced. If successful, they expect to submit it for final regulatory review as early as October. They plan to supply up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and approximately 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.
The decision to start the trial reflects “our primary goal to bring a well-tolerated, highly effective vaccine to the market as quickly as possible, while we will continue to evaluate our other vaccine candidates as part of a differentiated COVID-19 vaccine portfolio,” BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin said in a release. “Many steps have been taken towards this important milestone and we would like to thank all those involved for their extraordinary commitment.”
The companies’ experimental vaccine, uses messenger ribonucleic acid, or mRNA molecules, to provoke an immune response to fight the virus. Scientists hope mRNA, which relays genetic instructions from DNA, can be used to train the immune system to recognize and destroy the virus.
Earlier this month, the companies said one of its four coronavirus vaccine candidates produced neutralizing antibodies, which researchers believe is necessary to build immunity to the virus, in all participants who received two of the 10 or 30 microgram doses.
The best of the Muslim Times’ collection for war against Covid 19:
In this day and age, understanding bacteria and viruses and developing vaccines are national security issues. In my view sizable part of every country’s defense budget should be spent in these pursuits rather than making tanks and other weapons.
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