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American pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer says it could have an emergency COVID-19 vaccine ready as early as this fall and a larger roll out by year’s end, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Oxford University says it’s also on track to have a coronavirus vaccine available by September.
The New York-based Pfizer partnered with German company BioNTech and sped up the usual timeline for creating a vaccine to fight a virus that has put the world to a near stop.
Pfizer and BioNTech began testing on humans in Germany on April 23 with 12 individuals being administered the vaccine, BNT162, in a Phase 1/2 clinical study, according to a joint statement. As testing continues in Germany, up to 200 volunteers age 18 to 55 will be given a range of doses to determine the optimal dose for upcoming studies.
Testing in the United Sates will begin as soon as the companies have approval from the Food and Drug Administration; that could begin within a week, according to the WSJ Journal.
The companies expect to have data on the trials by late June.
“The two companies plan to jointly conduct clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine candidates initially in Europe and the U.S., across multiple research sites,” Pfizer states in its first quarter report posted online Tuesday. “The companies estimate that there is potential to supply millions of vaccine doses by the end of 2020, subject to technical success of the development program and approval by regulatory authorities, and the potential to rapidly scale up the capacity to produce hundreds of millions of doses in 2021.”
Oxford University has been able to speed up its process by using technology its lab developed in previous vaccine projects. “Well personally, I have a high degree of confidence about this vaccine, because it’s technology that I’ve used before,” said professor of vaccinology Sarah Gilbert to CBS News. Oxford is also already in the phase of giving injections to hundreds of healthy volunteers in hopes of telling not only if the vaccine is safe but if it works.
Oxford researchers created the new vaccine by inserting genes for a spikey protein that studs the outer surface of the new coronavirus into another, harmless virus. The idea: The immune system will spot the foreign protein and make antibodies to fight it, primed to react quickly if the person eventually is exposed to COVID-19.
The timelines for both vaccines are optimistic considering that inoculations usually take years to develop. Experts have cautioned that even if early studies go well, it will be at least a year before any are available for widespread use.
This is one of dozens of vaccines being tested in a race to find a magic bullet to stop the spread of the coronavirus. On April 20, the World Health Organization documented five vaccines in clinical evaluation and 71 vaccines in preclinical evaluation around the world.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Amy Graff is a digital editor with SFGATE. Email her: email@example.com.