Just a few days after Joe Biden clinched Pennsylvania and won the 2020 presidential election, the drug manufacturer Pfizer announced some major news of its own; early data on its COVID-19 vaccine trial showed that the drug is over 90% effective in preventing the disease among trial volunteers.
The vaccine, which was developed by Pfizer along with the German drugmaker BioNTech, has not been correlated with any serious safety concerns. Now that early data has been released, Pfizer will ask the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization of the two-dose vaccine later in November; if all goes as planned, Pfizer could manufacture enough doses to to immunize 15 to 20 million people by the end of 2020.
Pfizer and BioNTech’s isn’t the only vaccine currently being tested; eleven others are in trial stages across the world. But the efficacy of this vaccine has surprised even seasoned epidemiologists. A COVID-19 vaccine that is 90% effective “would be higher than your regular flu vaccine, and this vaccine could have a serious impact on bending the curve of this outbreak,” Yale Institute for Global Health director Saad B. Omer told the New York Times.
It’s important to note that Pfizer’s vaccine still has a ways to go before it’s ready for mass distribution, but some measure of hope is certainly warranted; after all, by the time the vaccine hits the market, we may have a leader in the White House who has not actively cheered science denialism and encouraged the American people to mistrust the medical community.