Statement from CEO of CEPI, Dr. Richard Hatchett, on the announcement today, 9 November 2020, from Pfizer / BioNTech with interim data from their Phase III clinical trial indicating 90% effectiveness of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
“These are hugely positive and encouraging interim results and are testament to the ingenuity and skill of the scientific community in advancing vaccine candidates against COVID-19. We commend Pfizer / BioNTech on this historic interim result and the speed at which they have advanced through clinical development.
“We believe these interim results also increase the probability of success of other COVID-19 candidate vaccines which use a similar approach [pre-fusion spike as their immunogen], including all of the vaccines in the CEPI portfolio.
“If the final longer term analysis of the study data confirms this result, and if no safety issues are identified in the trial participants, this vaccine candidate will be able to seek regulatory approval.
“The world urgently needs multiple safe and effective vaccines to defeat COVID-19, so it is crucial that vaccine R&D continues at pace. CEPI and COVAX are building a large and broad portfolio of vaccine candidates to maximize the global availability of doses, and ensure we can make vaccines available that are suitable for use in a range of populations and settings.
“Safety and efficacy are the two main priorities, and each vaccine candidate is being rigorously assessed against these criteria. The speed with which vaccines are being advanced is possible due to innovation and resources, not because any corners are being cut.
“Looking forwards the cold-chain requirements for this vaccine remain a challenge for use in some settings and this is something which will have to be addressed if the vaccine is to be made broadly available.”