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Health News

Instant View: Pfizer ends COVID-19 trial with 95% efficacy

(Reuters) - Pfizer Inc said on Wednesday that final results from the late-stage trial of its COVID-19 vaccine showed it was 95% effective, adding it had the required two-months of safety data and would apply for emergency U.S. authorization within days.

FILE PHOTO: Syringes are seen in front of displayed Biontech and Pfizer logos in this illustration taken November 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The final analysis comes just one week after initial results from the trial showed the vaccine was more than 90% effective. Moderna Inc on Monday released preliminary data for its vaccine, showing similar effectiveness.

MARKET REACTION: Equity markets strengthened slightly on the news. Europe’s STOXX 600 and U.S. S&P 500 e-mini futures both hit session highs. However, the moves were small compared to the jump after Pfizer’s previous announcement. The reaction in European government bonds and in currencies was muted.

Pfizer shares were 2.6% higher in U.S. morning trade at $36.98 and U.S.-listed shares of partner BioNTech SE were up 3% at $89.61.

COMMENTS

PROFESSOR ARTUR SUMMERFIELD, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, HEAD OF IMMUNOLOGY, SWISS INSTITUTE OF VIROLOGY AND IMMUNOLOGY

“With mRNA technology, the obvious advantage is that great quantities of vaccine can be produced quickly, without the use of cell cultures and other potentially toxic substances.

“Generally, the results published so far show that there’s a good antibody reaction, as well as a good cellular immune response. Both are important against viruses.”

ENRICO BUCCI, BIOLOGIST, ADJUNT PROFESSOR, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY, PHILADELPHIA

“Don’t get distracted: the news is not 95% protection, safety or effectiveness. For that we wait for the data. The news is that the phase 3 trial is over.

“A first in the history of mankind: less than a year from the sequence of the virus to the large-scale clinical trial of a vaccine, moreover based on a whole new technique.

“Today is a special day”.

STEPHEN EVANS, PROFESSOR OF PHARMACOEPIDEMIOLOGY, LONDON SCHOOL OF HYGIENE & TROPICAL MEDICINE

“This ... is very good news indeed. There are now rather more data accrued with, it is said, no serious side effects.

“It seems there is some evidence that in older adults...there is also very good efficacy with minimal side effects. This is again very good news, not just for this vaccine, but as it also makes it more likely that other vaccines will also be reasonably effective in older adults.”

TRUDIE LANG, DIRECTOR OF THE GLOBAL HEALTH NETWORK, NUFFIELD DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE, OXFORD UNIVERSITY

“Today’s update from Pfizer provides further encouraging news and more detail on the protection against disease that their vaccine is showing from this definitive phase III trial. The detail on achieving 94% protection in the elderly participants in the trial is particularly excellent news.

“We will need to wait and learn over time how long the protection lasts, and to see whether this vaccine can also prevent transmission – meanwhile, this vaccine does look likely to have a strong role immediately once it is approved in protecting health workers and the vulnerable from disease.”

LUCIO ROVATI, CEO, ROTTAPHARM BIOTECH, ITALY

“These percentages are very high and extremely promising. Remember for caution that this effectiveness refers to only one month after the first vaccination. We still do not know how long the protection will last, but other new data on ‘immunological memory’, which vaccines could improve, bodes well.

“It’s very positive also the fact that the tolerability is good.”

ELEANOR RILEY, PROFESSOR OF IMMUNOLOGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE, UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH

“We can be fairly confident now that the RNA (vaccine approach) is looking good...That’s also good for the Imperial College vaccine, which is an RNA vaccine.

ANDREW HILL, SENIOR VISITING RESEARCH FELLOW, DEPARTMENT OF PHARMACOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL

“The 94% protection for older people is key - this is the evidence we needed to ensure that the most vulnerable people are protected.”

NEIL WILSON, CHIEF MARKET ANALYST, MARKETS.COM

“I think it’s been pretty well fully priced in (to markets) now, especially since the Moderna news.

“It does underscore the fact that we are heading into a much brighter 2021 and whilst temporary lockdowns need to be endured, the back-to-normal trade is still ‘on’.”

IAN JONES, PROFESSOR OF VIROLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF READING

“The data is very strong...And it’s a good outcome as far as safety is concerned...It’s looking like a really contender.”

Compiled by Global Finance & Markets Breaking News team, Kate Kelland and Reuters health correspondents; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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