The first effective coronavirus vaccine can prevent more than 90% of people from getting Covid-19, a preliminary analysis shows. The developers – Pfizer and BioNTech – described it as a “great day for science and humanity”.
Their vaccine has been tested on 43,500 people in six countries and no safety concerns have been raised. The companies plan to apply for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month.
There are still huge challenges ahead, but the announcement has been warmly welcomed with scientists describing themselves smiling “ear to ear” and some suggesting life could be back to normal by spring.
“I am probably the first guy to say that, but I will say that with some confidence,” said Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University.
A vaccine – alongside better treatments – is seen as the best way of getting out of the restrictions that have been imposed on all our lives.
There are around a dozen in the final stages of testing – known as a phase 3 trial – but this is the first to show any results.