Phramaceutical brand Pfzier says its COVID-19 vaccine is 90 per cent effective in protecting people from the virus.
The news has been welcomed worldwide and one leading scientist says life might be back to normal by the spring.
"I am probably the first guy to say that, but I will say that with some confidence," said Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University. Bell is involved with the rival Oxford university vaccine.
The Pfizer vaccine – one of four vaccines the Australian Government is signed up for – showed better than expected results in an early analysis of 94 infections. The trial continues until December and has 44,000 people enrolled.
Pfizer and, co-developer BioNTech, called the results a “great day for science and humanity".
The chairman of Pfizer, Dr Albert Bourla, said: "We are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis."
The companies plan to apply for emergency approval to use the vaccine and they say they should be able to supply 50 million doses by the end of this year and around 1.3 billion by the end of 2021. Each person needs two doses.
Under a recently announced deal with Pfizer, Australia currently has an order for 10 million doses of the vaccine.
This is on top of 40 million doses from the Novavax team as well as orders from the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and the University of Queensland together with Australian manufacturer CSL Limited.
So far, the federal government has committed $3.2 billion to immunisation from the virus.
“I don’t want to overstate it, but that is welcome news. It is one of four vaccines that Australia is involved in and these results are very promising. I’m optimistic and hopeful about next year and the rollout of those vaccine programs,” Prime minister Scott Morrison said of the Pfizer vaccine results.
“The vaccines that will be made available to Australians will be done so, first and foremost, on the basis that they are safe.”
This announcement is the first of the 12 vaccines currently in development to show positive results. The vaccine is unlikely to be rolled out widely this year, but it is welcome news in a year which has seen over 50 million cases of COVID-19, with over 1.2 million people dead.Do you have an idea for a story?
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