Pfizer says it should know if COVID-19 vaccine works by end of October

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer will likely know by the end of next month if its coronavirus vaccine is effective, CEO Albert Bourla said.

There’s a “more than 60 percent” chance that the drugmaker’s clinical research will produce results by the end of October showing whether or not the shot works, Bourla said in a Sunday TV interview.

Pfizer has already started producing the vaccine it’s developing with German biotech firm BioNTech even though there’s no guarantee that its Phase 3 study will be successful, according to Bourla, who said it’s a “likely scenario” that the US Food and Drug Administration will approve the shot by the end of 2020.

“We have already manufactured hundreds of thousands of doses, so just in case we have a good study readout, conclusive, and FDA plus the advisory committee feels comfortable, that we will be ready,” Bourla told CBS’s “Face the Nation,” apparently referring to the FDA’s vaccine panel.

Pfizer is working to diversify the sample of its Phase 3 trial as it increases the number of participants to 44,000 from 30,000, Bourla said. The company is trying to recruit subjects as young as 16 as well as vulnerable people with chronic conditions such as HIV and AIDS, he said.

Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine is one of 35 potential coronavirus inoculations currently in some phase of clinical testing, according to the World Health Organization. Massachusetts-based Moderna and British drugmaker AstraZeneca are among the other candidates that have started late-stage Phase 3 trials.

All four companies were among nine that issued a joint statement last week pledging to make safety their top priority as they race to produce a shot that could help end the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

Pfizer shares were up 2.1 percent in premarket trading at $36.86 as of 7:16 a.m. Monday.

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