Another Reason to Believe Pfizer Could Have a Coronavirus Vaccine Ready in October

The Muslim Times has the best collection of articles for the war against Covid 19, especially the vaccines.

Source: The Motley Fool

“We will go for regulatory approvals in October.” 

Those were the words of Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) CEO Albert Bourla in a Washington Post live interview earlier this month. He was referring to the prospect that the company, along with its partner BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX), could seek approval for COVID-19 vaccine candidate BNT162b2 in the near future.

This statement was consistent with Bourla’s previous comments. In July, for example, he told Time magazine that Pfizer expected to know in September whether or not its vaccine works. He added that would pave the way for a quick Food and Drug Administration submission and even approval in October “if we are lucky.”

Is this timeline really attainable? There’s another reason now to believe that Pfizer just might have its coronavirus vaccine ready in October.

October 2020 calendar with a red wall in the background.

Setting a date

FDA Deputy Commissioner for Medical and Scientific Affairs Anand Shah recently stated that the agency is tentatively planning for an advisory committee to meet on Oct. 22, 2020, to discuss a coronavirus vaccine. So far, however, the FDA’s official calendar for advisory committee meetings doesn’t include anything related to coronavirus vaccines. 

Earlier this month, FDA Commissioner of Food and Drugs Stephan Hahn and Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Peter Marks said that they intended to ask the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) to review any COVID-19 vaccine candidate seeking FDA approval or emergency use authorization (EUA). They felt that involving the advisory committee would be beneficial in ensuring transparency with the approval and authorization processes.

The FDA frequently uses advisory committees consisting of experts in a particular area to review submissions for regulatory approval for drug and vaccine candidates. The agency doesn’t always make its decisions based on the advisory committees’ recommendations, but often does; it did so nearly 80% of the time between 2008 and 2015.

Potential contenders

Shah didn’t name any vaccine candidates that could be reviewed in the planned advisory committee meeting. But based on Pfizer’s highly publicized goal for seeking approval in October, the experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by the big drugmaker and BioNTech will likely be on the list.

Another top contender is AZD1222, the vaccine candidate developed by AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) and the University of Oxford. Like Pfizer’s and BioNTech’s BNT162b2, AZD1222 is currently being evaluated in a large phase 3 clinical study.

The Financial Times recently reported that the Trump administration is considering fast-tracking AZD1222 for emergency use authorization. However, AstraZeneca stated that it hasn’t talked with the U.S. government about an EUA for its coronavirus vaccine candidate and said that “it would be premature to speculate on that possibility.”

What about Moderna‘s (NASDAQ:MRNA) mRNA-1273 as a third potential COVID-19 vaccine that could be reviewed by an advisory committee in October? The biotech began a phase 3 study for the vaccine candidate in late July. But Moderna doesn’t expect to complete enrollment in its study until September. The second dose of mRNA-1273, which is given 28 days after the initial dose, wouldn’t be administered to patients enrolling in September until October. 

It’s possible (and perhaps even probable), though, that the leading companies in the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine could provide preliminary data from early enrollees that could be used to request an EUA from the FDA.  

Read further

Dr. Zia H Shah, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times and in charge for the health section

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Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker – The New York Times

Categories: Vaccine

2 replies

  1. Amid the frenzied race for a COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer may have early efficacy results in just a matter of weeks.

    During a digital event Thursday, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said the company has enrolled about 23,000 people for its phase 3 coronavirus vaccine trial so far. The company expects initial results in late October. If the results are positive, the company would be ready to ask the FDA to authorize vaccinations as soon as possible.

    In fact, the company is already preparing its application to submit quickly if the vaccine shows promise, he added. The FDA has set an advisory panel meeting for October 22 to discuss COVID-19 vaccine progress.

    In October, “the truth will be revealed,” Bourla said in a Washington Post interview.

    Bourla’s timeline would have been unthinkable at the beginning of the year, when the novel coronavirus started spreading and researchers got to work on the first vaccine candidates. Moderna entered the clinic in record time, while partners Pfizer and BioNTech started U.S. human testing in early May.

    At the start of the R&D process, experts predicted a vaccine could be available in 12 to 18 months if all went smoothly. Now, experts are still skeptical that a vaccine could be ready in late October.

    As the programs raced ahead, Americans grew wary about getting a shot developed and approved in short time. In a recent survey conducted by Stat and Harris Poll, more than 80% of people responded that they’d worry about safety for a hastily approved vaccine. Nearly 80% see politics driving the approval process rather than science.

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