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Pfizer and BioNTech's Vaccine Performs Well in the Real World

By Brian Orelli, PhD and Keith Speights - Apr 2, 2021 at 8:45AM

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Clinical trial data is good. Real-world data is great.

Pfizer (PFE 1.35%) and BioNTech (BNTX 5.42%) have shown their COVID-19 vaccine worked in a large clinical trial. But vaccines are used in the real world, so it's great news that the vaccine appears equally effective without the constraints of a clinical trial. In this video from Motley Fool Live, recorded on March 15, contributors Brian Orelli and Keith Speights discuss the implications of the real-world study performed in Israel.

Brian Orelli: Moving onto Pfizer and BioNTech, which reported real-world data from the Israeli Ministry of Health on the coronavirus. So they're looking at patients who just got vaccinated, and real world people who just went to the vaccine, so non-clinical trial. But they found that the vaccine effectiveness was at least 97% at preventing symptomatic disease, severe and critical disease, and death. Unvaccinated people were 44 times more likely to develop symptomatic COVID-19, and 29 times more likely to die from COVID-19. Perhaps most interestingly, the vaccine effectiveness was 94% against asymptomatic infections.

On one hand, the asymptomatic disease doesn't necessarily hurt the person, but it means that it can be passed on to unvaccinated people. It seems like a good news for Pfizer and BioNTech.

Keith Speights: Yeah. I will say this, personally, as someone who has received one dose already of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. I'm very glad to see these real-world results. They look great. I would say what I'd like to see is more data about viral loads and the vaccinated individuals who did develop asymptomatic COVID-19 after vaccination. Because if they have really low viral loads, even though they develop asymptomatic COVID, that could mean reduce levels of transmissibility. I think we could still see some good news on that front?

Interestingly, other reports from Israel in this huge real-world study or real-world analysis, other reports have indicated that after one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that individuals could have an efficacy of around 85%, the vaccine can deliver an efficacy of around 85%. Pfizer didn't mention that in its press release, and I think they intentionally left it out. I don't think they want to promote in any way the idea of just getting one shot of their vaccine. I think they want to have the people to go with the two doses because that's what the clinical studies included.

I did notice one comment in their press release that's worthy of note. They said, "These data are of global importance to other countries as vaccination campaigns continue worldwide." I think that's absolutely 100% true statement because these kind of reports further bolster Pfizer's status as one of, if not the most effective COVID-19 vaccine. And as countries who maybe made supply deals or made orders yet see these kind of results, I think it could promote them ordering Pfizer. I think these kind of results help Pfizer with governments that are maybe starting to look at stockpiling vaccines for 2022 and as other countries are continuing to secure doses for this year. These are very good results, very good for Pfizer.

Orelli: Very good for the U.S., too. I heard Fauci on one of the Sunday shows saying, if the virus can't replicate, it can't mutate, so getting the infection rate as low as possible is important because that's going to reduce the number of variants that we end up creating in the world. Getting as many people vaccinated worldwide is super important.

Speights: Absolutely. Just as an aside, Brian, I watched the National Geographic special Thursday evening about the making of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. And so any of our viewers who missed that, it was really good. I think, Pfizer is showing it on their YouTube channel now. They funded the production of the video, so it's kind of an infomercial, in a way. But it was really intriguing. I think anybody who is interested in the whole COVID vaccine race would enjoy watching. I think their documentary is called Mission Possible, something like that, but it is pretty intriguing.

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