The Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE prevented more than 90% of infections in a study of tens of thousands of volunteers, the most encouraging scientific advance so far in the battle against the coronavirus.
Eight months into the worst pandemic in a century, the preliminary results pave the way for the companies to seek an emergency-use authorization from regulators if further research shows the shot is also safe.
Pfizer shares extended gains in premarket trading, rising about 7%, with BioNTech American depositary receipts up about 11%.
The findings are based on an interim analysis conducted after 94 participants contracted Covid-19. The trial will continue until 164 cases have occurred. If the data hold up and a key safety readout Pfizer expects in about a week also looks good, it could mean that the world has a vital new tool to control a pandemic that has killed more than 1.2 million people worldwide.
“This is about the best the news could possibly be for the world and for the United States and for public health,” said William Gruber, Pfizer senior vice president for vaccine clinical research and development. It was better than even the best result he had hoped for, he said.
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