Pfizer and BioNTech have submitted their candidate coronavirus vaccine for emergency authorisation in the United States, becoming the first pharmaceutical company to apply for regulatory approval.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will decide if the vaccine is safe to roll out. It is yet unclear how long the process would take, but the US government is expected to approve the vaccine in the first half of next month.
According to the results of the advanced trial, the vaccine was found to protect 94% of adults aged over 65.
The trial involved 41,000 people worldwide. Half were given the vaccine, and half a placebo.
If approved, the vaccine will be the fastest to market in history. It will be the first to use mRNA technology, which sends genetic instructions to cells to provoke an immune response.
mRNA technology involves injecting part of the virus’ genetic code into the body to train the immune system. Antibodies and T-cells are then made by the body to fight the coronavirus. These would destroy any infected cells. If the person contracts coronavirus, the antibodies and T-cells are triggered to fight the virus.
An Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine is still undergoing trials but has shown promising results, with a strong immune response in the elderly.