The drug company Pfizer announced on Monday that the early data from its COVID-19 vaccine trial has shown it is more than 90% effective at preventing the virus. Later this month, they will apply to have it approved by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use.
The U.S.’s total number of coronavirus cases passed 10 million on Monday. America is the leader for coronavirus cases worldwide, and the vaccine provides hope after severe criticism of the current presidential administration’s handling of the virus.
“We’re in a position potentially to be able to offer some hope,” Dr. Bill Gruber, Pfizer’s senior vice president of clinical development, told The Associated Press. “We’re very encouraged.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci called the development “just extraordinary” and also said the result was unexpected.
“It’s going to have a major impact on everything we do with respect to COVID,” Fauci said.
Many of the trials going on worldwide are targeting the protein the coronavirus uses to infect cells and Fauci said this trial shows that approach was the correct one, the AP reported.
Pfizer did caution, though, that the current initial protection rate from the vaccine could change as the study goes on. The study has thus far enrolled more than 44,000 people in the U.S. and five other countries. Some patients were given the real vaccine and others were given a placebo, according to Pfizer.
Pfizer has said that it’s possible for 50 million doses of the vaccine to be available around the world by the end of 2020.
The news comes after Trump was projected on Saturday to have lost the 2020 election to the now President-elect Joe Biden.
Donald Trump Jr. tweeted about the timing of the vaccine news, inferring that there was a purpose to it.
“The timing of this is pretty amazing. Nothing nefarious about the timing of this at all right?” Trump Jr. wrote.
Kathrin Jansen, a senior vice president and the head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer, told The New York Times that the timing of the vaccine results had nothing to do with the election.
“We have always said that science is driving how we conduct ourselves — no politics,” she said.
President Donald Trump tweeted about the news on Monday. “STOCK MARKET UP BIG, VACCINE COMING SOON. REPORT 90% EFFECTIVE. SUCH GREAT NEWS!” He wrote.
Pfizer said it invested billions in the making of the vaccine after opting not to join the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed, which helped several drug companies accelerate their vaccine testing and helped fund the work.