09 November 2020 18:35
President-elect Joe Biden on Monday congratulated Pfizer after it announced that its coronavirus vaccine works. on Monday congratulated Pfizer after it announced that its coronavirus vaccine works. But he also noted that widespread vaccination will not happen for "many more months." "The end of the battle against COVID-19 is still months away," he said. Biden's tone was calmer than that of President Donald Trump, who sent an all-caps tweet hyping the news. President-elect Joe Biden on Monday celebrated the announcement of a successful coronavirus vaccine — but cautioned that the country still has far to go before achieving widespread vaccination.
Pharmaceutical company Pfizer said on Monday that its vaccine, currently in late-stage clinical trials, is indeed effective against the virus. Pfizer's announcement represents a milestone achievement in the war against the pandemic. "I congratulate the men and women who helped produce this breakthrough and to give us such cause for hope," Biden said in a statement "At the same time, it is also important to understand that the end of the battle against COVID-19 is still months away." "This news follows a previously announced timeline by industry officials that forecast vaccine approval by late November. Even if that is achieved, and some Americans are vaccinated later this year, it will be many more months before there is widespread vaccination in this country." Biden's cautionary remarks fall in line with what health officials have been saying for months. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease specialist, warned last month that the general public might not be able to receive a vaccine until mid-2021 President Donald Trump also celebrated the breakthrough but without any caveats.
"STOCK MARKET UP BIG, VACCINE COMING SOON. REPORT 90% EFFECTIVE. SUCH GREAT NEWS!" Trump tweeted early Monday. Biden has promised a series of proposals to curtail the spread of the disease, including making tests more widely available, expanding mask requirements, and distributing more personal protective equipment to institutions and hospitals. His remarks about the Pfizer breakthrough come just ahead of his announcement of a new coronavirus task force comprising 12 members, which over the weekend marked Biden's first major decision as president-elect. By declaring the formation of this task force, Biden indicates that he expects the coronavirus to continue to be a strong area of focus even months from now. Advertisement Biden's task force will have three people at its helm: former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner David Kessler, and Yale School of Medicine professor Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith. The coronavirus has infected more than 9.9 million people nationwide, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Of that, more than 237,000 people have died from it. In a significant announcement, Pfizer on Monday announced that its vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 in participants without evidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection in the first interim efficacy analysis. Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, a biotechnology company are developing an mRNA-based vaccine candidate, BNT162b2, against SARS-CoV-2 which they say has demonstrated evidence of efficacy against Covid-19 in participants without prior evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, based on the first interim efficacy analysis. In India, top sources within the National Expert Group that is deliberating on the vaccine strategy for the country say that India has already approached the representatives of US-based Pfizer's Indian subsidiary. This meeting happened days after the global pharma giant released the early phase one data. In India, the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 deliberates on strategy to ensure Covid-19 vaccines' availability and its delivery mechanism. The members of the national expert group have otherwise been tightlipped about Pfizer. But Dr Randeep Guleria, who is a member of the Expert Group, told News18 in an earlier interview that there is a possibility of India procuring Pfizer's vaccine for cities. News18 asked Dr Guleria about the problems associated with the storage of a vaccine like that being developed by Pfizer given the fact that it needs to be stored at -70 degrees. News18 had also asked Dr Guleria about Moderna's vaccine that needs to be stored at -25 degrees. This was before Pfizer announced that it's vaccine was showing efficacy to up to 90%. "We will see how we can position these vaccines. We may not be able to give some vaccines, which require -70 or -80 degrees, in smaller towns and rural areas. Maybe we can have these vaccines in bigger towns," said Dr Guleria. Experts say vaccines like Pfizer will require stringent standards for refrigeration. This could be the one factor that may affect how they are distributed across the country. However, will the vaccine require bridging studies in India, will India place orders with Pfizer like the US, Canada and Japan is not something the government is revealing at this point in time. What is reassuring is that unlike any other vaccine being developed against Covid-19, Pfizer's is also being tested on children, that studies show, are affected by the virus and are transmitters as well. Children as young as 12 have been enrolled in their trials.