In March of this year, the WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic and to date there are still no specific treatments and no licenced vaccines for coronavirus. However, preliminary data released this week from Pfizer suggest significant progress has now been made with highly encouraging results from a Phase 3 study. The interim results from the Pfizer study report that the vaccine is effective in preventing more than 90% of people from getting Covid. More data are awaited to confirm safety before emergency approval is sought and the vaccine is made available to the public.
While these data represent a major scientific breakthrough in tackling the Covid public health emergency, we will still have to overcome significant challenges before we have a number of safe and effective vaccines, which are available globally. Little detail is known at this juncture about immunogenicity; is it more (or less) effective in certain populations or age-groups and for how long is the vaccine effective?
In order to address these questions, amongst others, further vaccine trials are needed with the generation of more data to better understand how specific vaccines may be employed in the future. At present there are almost a dozen vaccines in late-stage clinical trials, which will ultimately lead to the selection of the best vaccines based on the efficacy and safety.