Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Daniel Johnson on the first COVID-19 vaccine

There is a good piece on the Pfizer & BioNTech vaccine against COVDI-19 by Daniel Johnson on "The Article" website which you can read here.

We're not quite there yet but it looks as though human ingenuity is winning through and this never-to-be-sufficiently-damned pandemic will not last for ever.

Let's just hope we can learn some lessons to help us reduce the cost in lives, jobs and money of the next one.


Anonymous said...

All Pfizer have done is issue a Press Release with a big disclaimer - This press release contains “forward-looking statements” ...

Chris Whiteside said...

Did you bother to follow the link and actually look at the article before commenting?

The article is about the excellent work done by the BioNTech team headed up by Dr Ugur Sahin and Dr Ozlem Tureci and they are the people it gives credit to.

So even if the press release referred to in the anonymous post above had been all Pfizer had done, which it isn't, this would not have meant there was anything wrong with the article I linked to.

A couple of minute's search on the internet should be enough for anyone to discover a release from BioNTech confirming that Pfizer and themselves had signed a partnership agreement in 2018 under which BioNTech was paid 120 million dollars at the start and potentially up to a further $305 million to "build a sustainable R&D presence in infectious disease, combining our deep understanding of the immune system to treat disease with" ... "cutting‐edge technologies and significant infrastructure."

The R&D capacity enhanced by BioNTech using substantial investmert from Pfizer was initially focussed on flu. but this year a lot of that focus has switched to the Coronavirus.

So yes, BioNTech have done the heavy lifting and deserve the lions share of the credit - but they had the resources to make the progress they have made partly thanks to their own brilliance but also partly because of the large sums of money they received from Pfizer.

Anonymous said...

Is there any peer revised evidence of efficacy in the public domain or just a press release?

Chris Whiteside said...

The BioNTech team published an article in Nature on 30th September with a massive amount of detailed data about exactly what research they are doing and extended data figures and tables about their results to that point, complete with a lot of boilerplate about who has been involved, declarations of interests, dozens of references etc.

It was peer reviewed on behalf of Nature by Barba Richardson and a second, anonymous, reviewer.

You can find it at

As I am neither a biologist nor an epidemiologist I don't understand more than a tenth of it, but the 10% I do understand is quite enough to form a judgement that the work they've done looks like a very great deal more than a press release to me.