The results from Pfizer and BioNTech are the first so-called phase 3 results for any vaccine that will be made public.
According to the companies, early analyzes of data from the phase 3 studies show that subjects who received two injections of the vaccine had 90 percent fewer symptomatic covid-19 cases than the group that received placebo.
The Phase 3 trials have not yet been completed, and new data may therefore affect the final results, according to the website Stat news.F
– This is a historic moment, says Kathrin Jansen. head of vaccine research and development at the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, to the New York Times .
– A devastating situation, a global pandemic, and we are on track to reach a goal no one has done before, to complete a vaccine within a year.
John-Arne Røttingen, head of the Research Council and incoming health ambassador, agrees with the Pfizer boss that this is a historic moment:
Yes, it absolutely is. But we will see the data reported before we can make an independent assessment of the situation, says Røttingen.
He reminds that the companies have not yet reported full data for the ongoing phase 3 study, so that the authorities and other researchers can follow up the results in detail.
Among important and still unanswered questions is how well the vaccine works in older age groups.
– This is just a kind of sneak peek at the results, they have not presented the data yet. What we have received today is data from the independent monitoring committee that monitors the study, says Røttingen.
Steinar Madsen, Medical Director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency, says the results from Pfizer-BioNTech are very good news.
– I must say I feel relieved when I see these results, says Madsen.
– A vaccine with such a high degree of protection will be a very effective weapon in the fight against this pandemic, says Madsen.
Health Director Bjørn Guldvog points out that the vaccine seems to be far more effective than the annual flu vaccines, if the results reported today hold up.
– I think the effect is higher than what we usually have for flu vaccines. 70-80 percent effect are actually very good numbers. So 90 percent is a very high number, says Guldvog.
– When we get more knowledge about the effect of these vaccines, we become more confident that there is light in the tunnel. This is good news.