A health worker holds blood samples for a Covid-19 vaccine during clinical trials at the Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Florida on Wednesday, September 9, 2020.
Eva Marie Uzcategui | Bloomberg | Getty Images
US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German biotech company BioNTech announced on Monday that their coronavirus vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 among those with no signs of previous infection.
"I think we can see light at the end of the tunnel," said Dr. Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer, told CNBC's Meg Tirell about "Squawk Box".
It is because drug manufacturers and research centers around the world are striving to provide a safe and effective vaccine to end the coronavirus pandemic that has killed over 1.25 million people worldwide.
Scientists are hoping for a coronavirus vaccine that is at least 75% effective, while White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, previously said that a 50% or 60% effective vaccine would be acceptable.
US stock futures soared on the news. The futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1,458 points, which means an opening profit of more than 1,400 points.
The results are based on the first preliminary efficacy analysis conducted by an external and independent data monitoring committee from the Phase 3 clinical trial. The independent group of experts monitors clinical studies in the USA to ensure the safety of the participants.
The analysis evaluated 94 confirmed Covid-19 infections among the 43,538 participants in the study. Pfizer and BioNTech said the split of the case between those who were vaccinated and those who received a placebo indicated a vaccine efficacy rate of over 90% seven days after the second dose.
This means that protection from Covid-19 will be achieved 28 days after the first vaccination, which consists of a two-dose regimen.
However, the final percentage of vaccine effectiveness may vary as safety and ancillary data continue to be collected.
"The initial results of our Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine study provide the first evidence of our vaccine's ability to prevent COVID-19," Bourla said in a statement.
"We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most, as infection rates are breaking new records, hospitals are on the verge of overcapacity, and economies are struggling to reopen," continued Bourla.
"With today's news, we are a significant step closer to providing a much-needed breakthrough to people around the world to end this global health crisis. We look forward to sharing additional efficacy and safety data from thousands of participants following weeks. "
Around 42% of the study’s global participants were racially and ethnically diverse, Pfizer and BioNTech said, adding that no serious safety concerns have been reported.
The companies said they plan to provide the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with an emergency permit soon after two months of data, which is currently on track for the third week of November.
According to current projections, Pfizer and BioNTech expect to produce up to 50 million vaccine doses by 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses by 2021.
The companies plan to submit data from the full Phase 3 study, which began July 27, for publication through peer-reviewed scientific research.
U.S. officials and scientists are confident that a vaccine against Covid-19 will be available in the first half of 2021 – 12 to 18 months since Chinese scientists first identified the coronavirus and mapped its genetic sequence.
It's a record-breaking timeframe for a process that typically takes about a decade for an effective and safe vaccine. The fastest vaccine development of all time, mumps, lasted more than four years and was approved in 1967.
– CNBC's Berkeley Lovelace Jr. contributed to this report.