The COVID-19 vaccine trial designed by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech may allow them to determine whether their candidate works before their fastest-moving rivals, reported Bloomberg.
The companies plan a first look after a mere 32 SARS-CoV-2 infections have accumulated in their 44,000-person trial. That case total could be reached as soon as September 27, according to the Airfinity analytics firm tracking vaccine trials.
Pfizer has also given itself four chances to get a preliminary result, before reaching the final goal of 164. Moderna will not assess the data until 53 cases have occurred, while its ultimate goal is to make a judgment at 151 diagnoses, while AstraZeneca will take its first look at 75 cases, and not again until the trial is complete with 150.
Pfizer's trial was designed to evaluate its vaccine candidate "as fast as possible," said spokeswoman Amy Rose. The company has worked with government scientists to develop best practices for testing and based its schedule for interim analyses on the vaccine's "strong profile' in early human trials and animal tests, she added.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg says Pfizer's trial reaches deeper into patients with mildly symptomatic cases, even counting those who only have fever. This may allow Pfizer to tally cases faster, but also could mean an early result based mostly on mild cases, according Airfinity CEO Rasmus Bech Hansen.
"We should really have hospitalizations or deaths as endpoints because ultimately we want to prevent people from getting seriously ill," he said.
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