The stock market in the United States and Europe posted positive gains after pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced that its coronavirus vaccine is showing an effectiveness rate of 90% in its initial tests. Though the study has not been completed, scientists and researchers believe that the general public should take this as a hopeful sign that the pandemic, and the various lockdowns, may finally be coming to an end.
In an official press release, Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer Chairman and CEO, announced, “Today is a great day for science and humanity. The first set of results from our Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19.
“We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen. With today’s news, we are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis. We look forward to sharing additional efficacy and safety data generated from thousands of participants in the coming weeks.”
Pfizer reports that the vaccine utilizes two doses over a two-day period, with protection occurring 28 days after its been fully administered. The efficacy rate could change, but at this point, it is a promising 90%, which is much better than the flu’s 50%. It’s unknown how long the individual is protected from the virus after the vaccine takes effect.
The two-dose regime works by targeting the “spike protein that the coronavirus uses to infect cells.” Nearly 44,000 people were enrolled in the testing process, and, to date, 38,955 have received both doses. The group is a mixture of 42% international volunteers from five different countries and 30% American participants. So far, there have only been 94 infections reported within that test group.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the somewhat controversial infectious disease expert, stated that the 90% effectiveness is “just extraordinary.”
“Not very many people expected it would be as high as that,” Fauci said. “It’s going to have a major impact on everything we do with respect to COVID.”
Pfizer confirms that if the study is successfully completed with no adverse side effects or safety issues, the organization expects to have 50 million doses, that would be for 25 million people, ready by the end of 2020 and “up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.”
Though not part of Operation Warp Speed created by the Donald Trump administration, Bourla was in contact with the president on many occasions about the vaccine’s progress. “Every time I spoke with the president I told him that he should not worry about us compromising safety or efficacy, but that we would do it as quickly as science allows us,” Boulra said.
The administration also promised Pfizer $1.95 billion if it could provide 100 million doses of the vaccine to the federal government.
The stock markets on at least two continents welcomed the news, with the Dow Jones Industrial average up 1,300 points and the S&P 500 jumping 3%. In addition, the European markets are up in response to the announcement, with Rolls Royce, a luxury car maker and prolific aircraft engine builder, posting a record surge indicating that an increase in air travel may be on the horizon.
Some of this stock market increase has also been in response to the announcement this weekend that former Vice President Joe Biden is likely the president-elect. However, before the Democrats claim victory over the rallying markets, some or most of it is because investors remain hopeful that the Republicans will retain control over the Senate. If the Republicans can hold their narrow majority of the upper legislative chamber, a radical liberal agenda, which would include tax increases and massive environmental regulations that will stifle economic growth, is less likely and a boon to investors.
The Pfizer announcement gives both people and investors hope that normalcy will return to the world sometime in the near future.
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