November 9, 2020
The 90% efficacy number from the PFE/BNTX candidate is surprisingly high. Of the first 94 people to get infected, more than 84 of them were on the placebo. Note that 50-60% efficacy is generally considered ‘good’, while 75% is probably considered ‘great.’ At 90% efficacy, their vaccine is roughly twice as effective as the average flu vaccine. They’ll file for Emergency Use Authorization later this month and expected to have 50M doses by year-end. Note this is a two-dose regimen, so this only covers 25M people. A second ‘booster shot’ is administered ~3 weeks later. Safety data is expected within two weeks and while no serious adverse effects are expected, the ‘booster shot’ is associated with 2-3 days of possible flu-like symptoms. In the US, early vaccine recipients are expected to be front-line workers and nursing homes. Availability for the average US citizen is probably late spring/early summer. PFE/BNTX thinks they can produce 1.3B doses by year-end 2021, which gets you to 650M people against a global population of 7-8B people. This was always expected to be a multi-company effort with the MRNA candidate (uses a similar technology) on track to release data later this month. Today’s data bodes well for MRNA, which has a lower manufacturing capacity than PFE. AZN and JNJ vaccine data is expected before year-end, while NVAX and MRK are in late stage trials, followed by GLX and SNY.