Pfizer’s CEO says they will be able to find out whether the coronavirus vaccine works by the end of October
The CEO of America’s largest pharmaceutical company has said he believes the vaccine for COVID-19 could be ready for approval and distribution by the end of the year next month.
Albert Bourla, CEO of New York-based Pfizer, told CBS Face the nation on Sunday morning that he was optimistic.
He said there is a 60 percent chance that his scientists will know if their vaccine is effective by the end of October, and once the green light is given, the doses could be produced quickly.
“We have a good chance that we will know if the product works by the end of October,” he said.
‘And then it is of course the duty of the supervisor to issue a permit or not.’
Asked if that meant he could say a vaccine would be ready by the New Year, he replied, “I don’t know if they should wait until 2021.”
Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s CEO, said he thought his company could soon get a COVID vaccine
Pfizer is currently conducting trials with 30,000 people, increasing the trial to 44,000
When asked if he thought it was likely that the US authorities would approve the vaccine, he replied, “I can’t say what the FDA will do. But I think it’s a likely scenario, and we’re preparing for it. ‘
Bourla said Pfizer was “already manufacturing” and had made hundreds of thousands of doses so far.
He said the move was “in case we have a good study readout, conclusive, and the FDA plus the advisory committee is comfortable that we’ll be ready.”
The pharmaceutical giant, with 88,000 employees in 150 countries, is one of many biotech companies working on a vaccine at full speed.
Pfizer has spent $ 1.5 billion to date, Bourla said.
There have been 6.5 million cases of COVID-19 and nearly 200,000 deaths from the virus
The United States is the hardest hit country for COVID-19 in the world
On Saturday, Pfizer announced that they were increasing the trial size for the new vaccine from 30,000 to 44,000 people, and increasing the number of people who will be sampled.
“Now we are quite comfortable with the safety of the product,” he said.
‘So we want to expand to more vulnerable population groups. For example, we go to younger people. Currently, the study is recruiting ages 18 to 85. Now we go to age 16.
‘We also go to people with special conditions, chronic conditions such as HIV patients, but we also try to use it to increase the diversity of the population.’
About a quarter of the 30,000 people in the initial studies were from ethnic minorities – a percentage that Bourla hopes to increase, given that coronavirus is statistically more dangerous for people of color.
“I think we should aim for as diverse a population as possible, but at the moment we are not bad,” he said.
‘In fact, we have a population worldwide that consists of only 60 percent whites, about 40 percent minorities.
‘Also, 44 percent are older people.
“And of course we try to grow, with a particular emphasis on African Americans and Latinos.”
Bourla also explained Pfizer’s decision – unlike its rivals – not to take government funding for vaccine research.
“The reason I did it was because I wanted to free our scientists from any bureaucracy,” he said.
‘When you get money from someone who always comes up with strings. They want to see how we proceed, what kind of moves you are going to do. They want reports.
‘I didn’t want any of that.
‘I wanted them – basically I gave them an open checkbook so they could only worry about scientific challenges, not anything else.
“Besides, I wanted to keep Pfizer out of politics.”
Bourla said he ultimately hopes that the vaccine distribution decisions will be “a collaboration between the government of each country and us.”
But, he added, it should be up to the government to decide who gets vaccinated first.