Pfizer (PFE 1.09%) and its German partner BioNTech (BNTX 4.15%) reported incredible efficacy data from a phase 3 trial for their mRNA coronavirus vaccine candidate. This news, paired with the equally impressive data from Moderna (MRNA 1.32%) about its candidate that takes a similar approach, inspired much hope around the world and injected optimism into the stock market.
The Motley Fool sat down with Dr. Jeremy Brown, author of Influenza: The Hundred-Year Hunt To Cure The Deadliest Disease In History and Director of Emergency Care Research at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Brown shared what these exciting developments mean for the world and for investors.
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Corinne Cardina: Great point. I think one of the questions on everyone's mind is the timeline. Of course, the very first vaccine doses will go to the people on the frontlines, probably the demographics who are most at risk. What is your most realistic prediction for when a coronavirus vaccine might be available to the public?
Dr. Jeremy Brown: I'm following what Pfizer itself says. I think there's no reason to think they don't get this right. But again, if assuming that the final studies demonstrate this effectiveness of upwards of 90 percent and the safety again, is verified. Pfizer itself has said that maybe we could get as many as 50 million doses this year. Many times that, perhaps into the billions next year. But as you've pointed out, the first people to get the vaccine should be the people who are, if you like, most in need of it. Now while we are all in need of it, it's some people who are on the frontlines of taking care of patients with COVID healthcare workers, as well as the elderly, and those with underlying medical problems that make them more likely to get the virus, excuse me. Those specific groups should of course be targeted specifically and early. Then the general population, those without special risks, factors or increased likelihood of exposure than they could come in the next release of the vaccine. We're all going to have to get in line and be patient as the vaccine is given to people who are most in need of it first.