Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine effective at least 6 months, company says

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 doses are prepared at a vaccine outreach clinic at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Kalamazoo Michigan on Tuesday

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 doses are prepared at a vaccine outreach clinic at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Kalamazoo Michigan on Tuesday

The vaccine remains more than 91% effective against disease with any symptoms for six months, the companies said in a statement.

Responding to the first study, the pharmaceutical giant said the data supports "previous results from immunogenicity studies demonstrating that (the vaccine) induced a robust neutralising antibody response to the (South African) variant".

The results follow separate data that showed the vaccine is safe and effective in 12- to 15-year olds, paving the way for the drugmakers to seek US and European approvals for this group.

Ian Haydon helped test Moderna's coronavirus vaccine past year.

"However, out of an abundance of caution, [the trial will] evaluate this variant vaccine candidate should there be a need for an updated vaccine", he said. "These data also provide the first clinical results that a vaccine can effectively protect against now circulating variants, a critical factor to reach herd immunity and end this pandemic for the global population". A BLA is an application for full approval.

Pfizer's vaccine is already authorized for use in people starting at age 16.

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Pfizer also noted no serious safety concerns up to six months after receiving the second dose, and 100% efficacy in preventing COVID-19 cases in South Africa, where the B.1.351 variant is prevalent.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, agreed that protection from these vaccines is likely to last longer than six months. Time will tell, ' Fauci told CNN. That makes for lasting immune protection.

"Preliminary data show that the COVID-19 vaccines now available in the United States should provide an adequate degree of protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants", Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in the statement.

The variant vaccine is similar to the current Moderna COVID-19 vaccine that has received FDA authorization in the USA, but it differs slightly in that it incorporates key mutations from the B.1.351 variant.

'In South Africa, where the B.1.351 lineage is prevalent and 800 participants were enrolled, nine cases of COVID-19 were observed, all in the placebo group, indicating vaccine efficacy of 100%,' the company said.

Pfizer's Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said the updated result, which includes data on more than 12,000 people fully inoculated for at least six months, positions the drugmakers to submit for full US regulatory approval.

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