Hopes are soaring that a Covid vaccine is within reach, following news that an interim analysis has shown Pfizer/BioNTech’s candidate was 90% effective in protecting people from transmission of the virus in global trials.
The vaccine performed much better than most experts had hoped for, according to the companies’ analysis, and brings into view a potential end to a pandemic that has killed more than a million people, battered economies and upended daily life worldwide.
The data is from an interim analysis and the trial continues into December but the headline results were emphatic. Regulators will be looking to process an emergency licence application at record speed.
Global stocks surged to record highs on the news, while companies that have become synonymous with lockdowns in the west, including Zoom’s video conferencing and food delivery firms, saw falls in their value.
John Bell, Regius professor of medicine at Oxford University, who is involved with the Oxford vaccine, said that the Pfizer team had shown “an amazing level of efficacy” and it could mean a return to normality by spring. “I’m the first guy to say that but I will say it with some confidence,” he told the BBC.