The rest of the world joined the celebration today as Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech announced the encouraging results of their candidate in a press release.
Pfizer says it could seek an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the vaccine from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the next few weeks. But Peter Hotez, a vaccine researcher at Baylor College of Medicine, speaks for many scientists when he says that despite the “apparently good news,” he would keep the champagne corked. “It’s always hard to read the tea leaves of a company press release,” without the underlying data, says Hotez, who is also part of a team making a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. He stresses that whatever happens, the vast majority of the public will not have access to this or any other COVID-19 vaccine for several months. “This is a slowly evolving process,” Hotez says.
“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” adds Georgetown University’s Jesse Goodman, who was formerly chief scientist at FDA and before that headed its vaccine division. Nothing, for example, is known about how long the immunity triggered by the vaccine will last, whether it can prevent severe COVID-19, and even whether it will slow transmission rates if it’s used widely in a population. It’s unclear how well it works in the elderly, who suffer the most from SARS-CoV-2. The vaccine, based on a simple strand of messenger RNA (mRNA), has to be kept at frigid temperatures below –80°C to preserve the genetic material, and making and delivering it to hundreds of millions—if not billions—of people remain huge challenges.Original Source