Vaccine success raises hopes, but will the US make it available to Mongolia?
One of the world’s first vaccines against the coronavirus appears to be 90 percent effective, raising hopes that an end to the pandemic is now in sight.
Pfizer and BioNTech presented data based on an analysis of 94 volunteers, showing that two vaccines are needed three weeks apart.
The vaccine achieved 90 percent protection one week after the second dose.
The volunteers were part of a Phase 3 trial involving over 43,000 people.
“The first set of results from our Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19,” Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer Chairman and CEO, said. “We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen.”
The trial will present further data in the coming weeks, but hopes are already high that the news marks the beginning of the end for the pandemic.
The BBC has quoted Sir John Bell, a professor of medicine at Oxford University (which is developing its own vaccine), as saying ‘with some confidence’ that life could be heading ‘back to normal.’
World leaders, including President-elect Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have hailed the result.
Pfizer says it expects to produce 50 million vaccine doses this year and up to 1.3 billion doses next year. There is likely to be some logistical difficulty in distributing it around the globe because it needs to be stored at -80 degrees Celsius.
Both Russia and China have said that they will provide Mongolia with a vaccine should one of their candidates prove successful in trials.
Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is already being rolled out, although it hasn’t gone through large-scale Phase 3 trials, and China is inoculating its soldiers with an experimental vaccine developed by CanSino Biologics.
It’s unclear when those vaccines might start arriving in Mongolia, although China has said that it would wait for approval from the World Health Organisation before doing so.
Mongolian Prime Minister Khurelsukh has said that Mongolia will maintain quarantine rules until a vaccine becomes available.
The country has recorded just 360 cases, making it one of the most successful countries globally in containing the spread of the virus despite sharing land borders with China, where the virus originated, and Russia, one of the hardest-hit countries so far.
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