Discover & Deliver: Pfizer’s Unprecedented Approach to a Coronavirus Vaccine
From U.S. Chamber of Commerce
As states across the U.S. slowly begin to reopen parts of their economies, a big question remains: When will a vaccine be available?
The scientific community recognizes that the unprecedented challenge of a global pandemic requires an equally unprecedented response in size, scale, and scope.
Take Pfizer, for example, one of the companies at the front of the race to create a vaccine. Today, Pfizer – in partnership with German biotech company BioNTech – has one of the 10 vaccines currently in the clinical stage of development.
What makes Pfizer’s approach unique is two-fold: First, Pfizer is one of only a handful of companies seeking to develop an mRNA vaccine candidate. Because an mRNA candidate is made from the genetic code of the virus itself, the vaccine can be produced and tested in a matter of months, rather than years. Second, Pfizer is simultaneously testing four mRNA vaccine candidates to determine which will be the most effective to immunize against COVID-19.
While the mRNA approach offers the advantage of speed, the biggest risk is that an mRNA vaccine has never been successful before. Yet the scientific team at Pfizer recognizes that the extraordinary challenge created by the global pandemic requires companies to think and act boldly.
Pfizer should know if the move will pay off by early July, with data available early this summer on which of the four mRNA candidates is the most promising.
Companies, communities, families, and individuals alike wait in anticipation to see if Pfizer’s investment in a previously unproven technology will help lead us out of the global pandemic.
—Jonathan Weinberger, Executive Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center