An experimental Covid-19 vaccine being developed by the drug giant Pfizer and the biotech firm BioNTech spurred immune responses in healthy patients, but also caused fever and other side effects not deemed serious.
The first clinical data on the vaccine were disclosed Wednesday in a paper released on medRXiv, a preprint server, meaning it has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a journal.
“We still have a ways to go and we’re testing other candidates as well,” said Philip Dormitzer, the chief scientific officer for viral vaccines at Pfizer’s research laboratories. “However, what we can say at this point is there is a viable candidate based on immunogenicity and early tolerability safety data.”
The study showed that the vaccine generated antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, and some of these antibodies were neutralizing, meaning that they appear to prevent the virus from functioning.
Fourteen Covid-19 vaccines are currently in human trials, according to the Milken Institute, including entrants from Inovio, CanSino, AstraZeneca, and Moderna. More are expected to start soon, including entrants from Merck, Johnson & Johnson, and Sanofi. In total, 178 vaccines are in various stages of development.
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