Dr. Anthony Fauci has said the news that Pfizer's candidate vaccine is more than 90% effective bodes well for other Covid-19 vaccines in development.
Pfizer's candidate uses a never-before-approved technology called messenger RNA, or mRNA, to produce an immune response in people who are vaccinated.
“This shows that the mRNA platform actually does work. And there’s another vaccine candidate, Moderna, that’s using the same platform,” Fauci told CNN in a telephone interview.
The US federal government has invested $1.95 billion in Pfizer and partner BioNTech’s vaccine but is not directly working to help its development.
Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is working with Moderna and other companies to test their experimental vaccines. Four coronavirus vaccines are in advanced, Phase 3 trials in the US now.
Fauci told CNN that Pfizer was able to get results so quickly due to the pandemic being so bad.
“An answer depends on the size of the trial and how many infections there are in the community,” he said Monday.
“This was a trial that was geared to 44,000 people and we are in the middle of a major surge right now. Those two things together make it much more likely that you’ll get an answer quickly, which is what happened. We got an answer quickly.”
US stocks surged at the opening bell in New York on Monday in reaction to the news. The Dow opened up 1,600 points.
Oil prices also skyrocketed, with US crude spiking 11% to $41.22 a barrel.
But some voiced caution over the interim results.
The nonprofit group Public Citizen released a statement on Monday calling for more data.
"The release of preliminary and incomplete clinical trial data by press release to the public is bad science," Michael Carome, director of the group, said in the statement.