German firm BioNTech is confident it will seek regulatory approval by the end of the year for a coronavirus vaccine, the company's CEO told The Wall Street Journal in an interview conducted Wednesday and published on Friday.
Dr. Ugur Sahin said that due to the spread of the virus, it could take about a decade for the world's population to achieve immunity, even if several vaccines become available at the same time. BioNTech has partnered with Pfizer in the US to develop the vaccine.
“I assume that we will only be done with this virus when more than 90% of the global population will get immunity, either through infection or through a vaccine,” Sahin told the Journal.
Sahin added the company could produce several hundred million doses before approval and more than 1 billion doses by the end of 2021.
Last week, BioNTech and Pfizer announced that the Covid-19 vaccine in development had yielded positive data in early tests.
The companies shared their preliminary findings on July 1 in a pre-print paper that shows participants in a Phase 1/2 study of the vaccine, called BNT162b1, responded to the immunization and it was found to be well tolerated. The Phase 1/2 study is ongoing and the data has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
The preliminary data will help researchers determine a dose level for the vaccine, then select which of their multiple vaccine candidates to progress to a larger-scale global Phase 2/3 study, which could begin as early as this month, the companies said.