Pfizer CEO expects vaccine trial results before November

UNDATED (WOOD) — Pfizer’s CEO says the pharmaceutical giant should know how effective its experimental COVID-19 vaccine will be by the end of October.

CEO Albert Bourla appeared on CBS’ “Face The Nation” Sunday and reiterated the point Monday on CNBC. Though he outlined a timetable, he said there is no firm date for when exactly researchers will get the results and says it is “unlikely” they will have them by Oct. 22, when the Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet to discuss vaccines.

“From the time the study resolves, they need some time to prepare for the submission of the data,” Bourla said. “Right now, based on current rates … we do expect — we have a very good sense — that we will have a conclusive efficacy read out of our Phase 3 by the end of October. Could be a week earlier, could be a week later.”

Pfizer is working with German drugmaker BioNTech on developing the vaccine, using a $1.95 billion contract with the federal government to develop, produce and deliver 100 million doses if it proves to be safe and effective.

If the trial produces good results and the vaccine is approved by the FDA, Pfizer’s facility in Portage will handle the bulk of the manufacturing and distribution.

According to The New York Times, Pfizer’s trial is one of nine worldwide in the “late stages” of testing. Moderna is partnered with National Institute of Health for its trial, having started Phase 3 testing on 30,000 healthy people in July. Studies have already shown the vaccine can effectively protect monkeys from COVID-19.

AstraZeneca has restarted its trial after briefly pressing pause last week when one volunteer showed severe side effects. In early tests, its vaccine showed raised levels of coronavirus antibodies. AstraZeneca has a deal in place to manufacture and deliver 400 million doses for the European Union.

Two Chinese companies have been given limited approval for vaccines, but testing continues. Officials in Russia have since walked back some of their claims that they have a working vaccine. Researchers say more testing needs to be done, but early trials showed it raised antibody levels but did cause some mild side effects.