"breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis."
It has been revealed that the Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has been found to be 90% effective in preventing people from getting the virus.
Phase 3 of Pfizer’s trial involved 43,538 participants from six countries.
They received two doses of either the vaccine or a placebo. Within 28 of having their jabs, 90% were protected from the virus.
The US pharmaceutical firm said that just 94 participants contracted Covid-19 and no serious safety concerns were reported.
Pfizer chairman and chief executive Dr Albert Bourla said:
“Today is a great day for science and humanity. The first set of results from our Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent Covid-19.
“With today’s news, 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 vaccine is one of approximately 12 worldwide in the final stages of testing. However, it is the first to produce any results.
Manufacturers say that can supply 50 million doses by the end of 2020 and 1.3 billion by the end of 2021.
After coming to an agreement with the two firms, the UK has secured around 30 million doses, which is enough for 15 million people.
Pfizer has said that it will apply to the Food and Drug Administration by the end of November 2020 for emergency approval to use the vaccine.
A spokesperson for the UK Government said it is “optimistic about a breakthrough” but urged people to remember “there are no guarantees”.
They added that people who live and work in care homes will be the priority, followed by the elderly and vulnerable when the NHS is ready to roll out the vaccine.
Peter Horby is a professor of emerging diseases and global health at the University of Oxford. He called the news a “watershed moment”.
He added: “This news made me smile from ear to ear.
“It is a relief to see such positive results on this vaccine and bodes well for Covid-19 vaccines in general.”
Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, said:
“This cautiously sounds like an excellent result from the Phase 3, but we should remain a little cautious – the study is ongoing.
“However, if the final results show an effectiveness of anywhere near 90% with response in elderly and
ethnic minority populations, that is an excellent result for a first-generation vaccine.”
William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in Nashville, Tennessee, added: “The efficacy data is really impressive.
“This is better than most of us anticipated.
“I would have been delighted with efficacy of 70% or 75%, 90% is very impressive for any vaccine. The study isn’t completed yet, but nonetheless, the data looks very solid.”