GROTON, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – The Trump administration will pay nearly $2 billion to Pfizer for 100 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine it’s developing with another company, and could by another 500 million if it gets regulatory approval.
Wednesday, the pharmaceutical company gave an update on how soon this could happen.
By the end of the year: That’s when Pfizer says it could have a COVID-19 vaccine ready to go.
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“Preliminary data from the study shows a good immune response from patients vaccinated and we plan to start the large scale clinical trial before the end of July involving 20-30 thousand patients,” said Pfizer’s John Burkhardt.
From there, they hope to submit findings by October, and since it has been fast tracked they won’t have to wait the standard amount of time for a review, which could take many months.
Right now, Pfizer, who partnered with German company BioNTech, says it might require two doses.
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“We don’t know if this is a two shot series done once in a lifetime. We don’t know if the virus will mutate and need a different version of the vaccine annually as you see with influenza,” Burkhardt said.
By Pfizer isn’t the only company in the game. As part of “Operation Warp Speed,” multiple vaccines are being developed simultaneously by other companies. Under this initiative, the government will speed up and buy the vaccines before they’re deemed safe and effective, so that the medication can be distributed quickly once the FDA approves or authorizes its emergency use after trials.
“If there are multiple winners, all the more better. That means we can ramp up manufacturing and get more vaccines to more people quicker,” said Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont.
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Any vaccine, once approved, will be free to the public.
Though optimistic, Pfizer is sounding a cautious note.
“Things can go wrong that can slow a project,” Burkhardt said.
But even if not Pfizer, there are five under development with U.S. funding and nearly two dozen in various stages of testing around the world.
Pfizer also plans clinical trials for an IV treatment for people already infected with COVID-19.
The goal is to have 300 million doses of a safe and effective vaccine by January 2021.