Recently, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) posted online background material for this week’s upcoming Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) public meeting. The VRBPAC will meet in open session on Thursday, December 10, to discuss Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older.
“FDA intends to make background material available to the public no later than 2 business days before the meeting. If FDA is unable to post the background material on its website prior to the meeting, any background material will be made publicly available at the time of the advisory committee meeting, and additional materials will be posted on FDA’s website after the meeting. The meeting will include slide presentations with audio components to allow the presentation of materials in a manner that most closely resembles an in-person advisory committee meeting,” – the Administration said.
The First Emergency Use Authorization For COVID-19 Vaccine For Pfizer
Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE announced on December 2, that the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the U.K. has granted a temporary authorization for emergency use for their COVID-19 mRNA vaccine (BNT162b2), against COVID-19. Need to be said that this is the first Emergency Use Authorization following a worldwide Phase 3 trial of a vaccine to help fight the pandemic, and the company set a precedent for the FDA to okay the emergency use of the vaccine too.
Pfizer and BioNTech are anticipating further regulatory decisions across the globe in the coming days and weeks and are ready to deliver vaccine doses following potential regulatory authorizations or approvals. The distribution of the vaccine in the U.K. will be prioritized according to the populations identified in guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
“Today’s Emergency Use Authorization in the U.K. marks a historic moment in the fight against COVID-19. This authorization is a goal we have been working toward since we first declared that science will win, and we applaud the MHRA for their ability to conduct a careful assessment and take timely action to help protect the people of the U.K.,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer. “As we anticipate further authorizations and approvals, we are focused on moving with the same level of urgency to safely supply a high-quality vaccine around the world. With thousands of people becoming infected, every day matters in the collective race to end this devastating pandemic.”
Phase 3 Results
The MHRA’s decision is based on a rolling submission, including data from the Phase 3 clinical study, which demonstrated a vaccine efficacy rate of 95% (p<0.0001) in participants without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection (first primary objective) and also in participants with and without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection (second primary objective), in each case measured from 7 days after the second dose. The first primary objective analysis is based on 170 cases of COVID-19. Efficacy was consistent across age, gender, race and ethnicity demographics, with an observed efficacy in adults age 65 and over of more than 94%.
“To assure product quality, the companies have developed specially designed, temperature-controlled shippers for the BNT162b2 vaccine candidate, which can maintain recommended storage conditions (-70°C ±10°C) for extended periods of time without any additional equipment but dry ice. The shipper can maintain temperature for 10 days unopened which allows for transportation to markets globally.
Once open, a vaccination center may use the specially designed shippers as a temporary storage solution to maintain the recommended storage conditions (-70°C ±10°C) up to 30 days with re-icing every five days in accordance with the handling instructions. Each shipper contains a GPS-enabled thermal sensor to track the location and temperature of each vaccine shipment 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Once thawed, the vaccine vial can be stored for up to five days at refrigerated (2-8°C) conditions,” – Pfizer recommends.
“The Emergency Use Authorization in the U.K. will mark the first time citizens outside of the trials will have the opportunity to be immunized against COVID-19,” said Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech.
“We believe that the roll-out of the vaccination program in the U.K. will reduce the number of people in the high-risk population being hospitalized. Our aim is to bring a safe and effective vaccine upon approval to the people who need it. The data submitted to regulatory agencies around the world are the result of a scientifically rigorous and highly ethical research and development program.”