Dr. Fauci says Pfizer’s reported vaccine 90% efficacy rate is ‘extraordinary’

The nation’s leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed enthusiasm for the news that Pfizer’s vaccine was found to be more than 90 …

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-disease expert, expressed enthusiasm at Pfizer’s announcement that its coronavirus vaccine was found to be more than 90% effective in its final stage of clinical trials.

Fauci said at a press briefing on Monday morning that such an efficacy rate was “just extraordinary” and would “have a major impact on everything that we do with regard to COVID.”

“It’s a really good day for biomedical research and clinical application of biomedical research,” he said, adding that “this is very good news looking forward.”

Fauci said the result “validates the mRNA platform,” which could indicate that a separate mRNA vaccine developed by Moderna could also have positive results.

He added that this “validates greatly” the virus’ spike protein as the immune-response target, which is important because it’s also the target for “virtually every one of the other vaccines.”

Fauci told STAT News that “it’s not only immediate good news, it really is optimistic about what’s going to roll out in the next several months with the other vaccines.”

While the high efficacy rate that Pfizer announced contributed to optimism about a safe and effective vaccine, the road to normality is still long.

Pfizer said it was waiting to reach the “required safety milestone” before applying for emergency approval, expected later this month.

But even if the vaccine is approved, it would take some time until it is widely available — so people should expect to keep wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

President-elect Joe Biden congratulated Pfizer on the development but noted that “it will be many more months before there is widespread vaccination in this country.”

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