Side effects that have emerged in a large late-stage trial of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE are in line with those seen in smaller early studies, a positive sign for one of the front-runners in the race for a shot.
The partners haven’t had to stop their late-stage study over safety concerns, BioNTech Chief Executive Officer Ugur Sahin said in an interview. They’re sticking with their previously announced target of being able to provide preliminary data on whether the vaccine works as soon as this month, if a threshold for infections is reached; if so, any submissions for regulatory approval would come later.
That would put Pfizer and BioNTech on track to potentially be the first to show the efficacy of a Covid-19 vaccine, in an environment of intense scrutiny over every possible complication. This week, Eli Lilly & Co. and Johnson & Johnson both said they had to pause research on potential therapies or shots because of safety concerns. Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump has touted unproven treatments and pushed for more rapid regulatory review.