On November 9, 2020, the drug company knows as Pfizer announced the results of clinical trials testing its vaccines. The results were eye-catching as the vaccine proved to more than 90% efficient when it came to preventing contraction of the virus in subjects that had yet to contract it. Pfizer partnered up with German drugmaker BionNTech in order to develop the vaccine. This is huge news not only because it gives hope to a potential end to the pandemic, but also because it marks vital progress within the medical community when it comes to getting a vaccine as soon as possible. The last key development that had been heard about the race towards a vaccine was back in March when it was reported that scientists at a Canadian laboratory had managed to isolate the virus. Now the development face could begin for a vaccine as not only scientists at the laboratory but others around the world would be able to collect data from the isolated virus. Pfizer has confirmed that if the vaccines’ efficiency is consistent, the company could mass-produce it and immunize 15 to 20 million people by the end of the year.
However, much like with any scientific advancement, there has been some skepticism and doubt surrounding the validity of the “90%” efficiency claim. This is mainly because the results were reported through news media outlets rather than published through scientific journals. This would logically raise eyebrows as scientific journals tend to be more nitpicky and factual when it comes to the data presented. Furthermore, the company itself, Pfizer, has admitted that the results are not fully representative of the vaccine as testing is still “in early stages” and that its efficiency could change as more tests are done. As a result, many scientists have warned against “hyping up” early results as it could lead to false hope and bitter disappointment down the road if the vaccines do not yield any fruit. Still, others have also been optimistic. Akiko Iwasaki, an immunologist at Yale University, who had initially expected an efficiency rate of “55 percent” was blown away at the progress that the trials had made. Furthermore, it has been claimed that if such efficiency were to keep up, the vaccine would be just as effective as other active ones such as the vaccine for measles.
Overall, the prospect of a potential vaccine is exciting and positive news in a year that has otherwise lacked it and has been filled with tragedy. However, we must stay objective and realize that this is only the beginning and much work needs to be done before an effective vaccine is developed and the world returns to a sense of normalcy.
Categories: World News