Pfizer Chairman and CEO Dr. Albert Bourla told CNBC on Monday morning that he believes the world “can see light at the end of the tunnel,” after the U.S. pharmaceutical giant announced its coronavirus vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 for those who had no evidence of previously being infected.
More than 50 million coronavirus infections have been recorded worldwide since the virus emerged in China in late December, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. At least 1,257,747 people have died. Nearly a fifth of all global infections and fatalities are in the U.S. The race to develop a safe and effective vaccine has been closely watched as companies accelerated a process that normally takes years.
“It is a great day for science. It is a great day for humanity when you realize your vaccine has 90% effectiveness. That’s overwhelming,” Bourla in interview with CNBC’s Meg Tirrell on “Squawk Box.” “You understand that the hopes of billions of people and millions of businesses and hundreds of governments that were felt on our shoulders. Now… I think we can see light at the end of the tunnel.”
BioNTech and Pfizer’s late-stage study is continuing after the positive interim analysis, with hopes for it to be completed by the end of the month, Bourla said.
The companies will need to apply for emergency use authorization with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former FDA commissioner, told CNBC the vaccine could be available in limited use as early as late December and widely available by the third quarter of 2021.
Bourla, who was born and raised in Thessaloniki, hasn’t forgotten his birthplace since rising the ranks of the global pharmaceutical giant. He was in Greece in August where he announced a digital innovation center that will open in the northern Greek city this year.
Bourla spoke about his connection to Greece and the investment in his hometown in a wide-ranging interview with Kathimerini in October.
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