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Will October Be A Reachable Goal For A Vaccine?

Will October Be A Reachable Goal For A Vaccine?

Despite slim chances that the COVID-19 vaccine will see the light of the public day in October, Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) is getting our hopes up. According to SVB Leerink, a Wall Street firm, even though Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) and Pfizer began their trials on the same day, Pfizer's is built for speed. As a reminder, there are four vaccines undergoing the final stage of U.S. clinical trials and a fifth by Maryland-based Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ: NVAX) on the way. Although the final stage of clinical trials in the U. S. will begin in October Phase 3 in the UK is well underway as of September 25th. The four other candidates besides Moderna and Pfizer are Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) and AstraZeneca plc (NYSE: AZN). But unlike Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca which have said they will not profit from their products during the pandemic, Pfizer has made no such promises.


Obviously, there's a huge financial advantage to being first out of the gate. Besides billions of dollars to gain, there's the concept of being in the president's good graces. Pfizer brought in approximately $40 billion in revenue last year by selling high-priced and brand-name drugs whereas Trump promised to lower the cost of these drugs. Moreover, Trump promised a US vaccine approval by October.


By all accounts, October is far-fetched. Even if the clinical trials deliver the desired results, and that alone is a big if, pharmaceutical companies will not have the time to collect enough data to claim with statistical confidence that vaccines are safe and effective. Pfizer's leading competitors in the vaccine race, Moderna and AstraZeneca, have been vaguer about timing for good reason, saying only that they expect something before the end of the year. The F.D.A. instructed companies to track at least half of the patients' safety data for two months before emergency access has been granted. This action alone pushes the earliest possible date into at least November. When asked about October, Moderna's chief executive, Stéphane Bancel, replied that it is possible because everything is possible, but that it is "unlikely."

Success Is Not Guaranteed

Despite Pfizer's confident pronouncements, a win is promised to no one. Statistically, around 15 percent of vaccines in late-stage trials do not end up being approved. Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci did express optimism about the vaccines in their final stage of development, believing vaccinations in the US will begin taking place in November or December.  Then again Novavax has never brought a vaccine to market. But it was awarded a $1.6 billion grant to produce 100 million dosages of a coronavirus vaccine by early next year.

Outlook – Waiting For A Vaccine In A World That Cannot Wait

The world is waiting for a revolutionary vaccine that will allow a return to normality. In that sense, a vaccine cannot come soon enough. But, if Pfizer is perceived to be pushing a vaccine before it is ready, or even worse, risk its safety and effectiveness, the potential of the damage is immense. Reputation takes a lifetime to build but only a minute to destroy. Let's not forget that the vaccine is only one part of the whole package that we need to save lives and the economy. The trickier part is to learn from our mistakes and do our part in creating a better world, one that will hopefully deal with such anticipated threats much better than we did this year. Let's hope pharmaceutical companies will do their job right by not making speed and profit their top priorities.

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The post Vaccine Updates- Is October a Reachable Goal? appeared first on IAM Newswire.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash


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