Pfizer Covid Vaccine Faces Hurdles After FDA Filing Friday

28 Nov, 2020 - 00:11 0 Views
Pfizer Covid Vaccine Faces Hurdles After FDA Filing Friday

The Herald

Anna Edney
Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE requested emergency authorization of their Covid vaccine on Friday, and it could take at least three weeks for a U.S. Food and Drug Administration decision as trial data is probed by agency staff and outside advisers.

Shown to be 95 percent effective and without any major safety issues, their vaccine could be the first to be cleared for use, but first it must undergo a thorough vetting. The filing could enable its use by the middle to the end of December, the companies said in a statement.

A key step along the way is a meeting of outside FDA advisers, all experts in infectious diseases and vaccines. The FDA will convene the advisory group December 10 to discuss Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine, according to a statement from the agency Friday.

The FDA will spend the few short weeks between the emergency authorization request and the meeting sorting through the trial data.

“I don’t find that time frame to be unreasonable in light of the amount of data the agency needs to analyze and in order to ensure full participation by all stakeholders in the advisory committee,” said John Taylor, who served as counselor to the head of the FDA during the Obama administration and now works as a consultant at Greenleaf Health.

“It ensures that the agency can conduct a well-run, well attended advisory committee in order to ensure maximum transparency, which I think will be an important factor in patients’ willingness to take the vaccine.”

“I don’t find that time frame to be unreasonable in light of the amount of data the agency needs to analyse and in order to ensure full participation by all stakeholders in the advisory committee,” said John Taylor, who served as counsellor to the head of the FDA during the Obama administration and now works as a consultant at Greenleaf Health.

“It ensures that the agency can conduct a well-run, well attended advisory committee in order to ensure maximum transparency, which I think will be an important factor in patients’ willingness to take the vaccine.”

 

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn also said earlier this week the agency will post documents related to its review of any vaccine granted an emergency authorization. The aim is to “contribute to the public’s confidence in the agency’s rigorous review of scientific data and the appropriate use of authorized products.”

Pfizer gained 1.4 percent in New York, while BioNTech’s American depositary receipts rose 9.6 percent.

Key Moments

The emergency authorization process allows drugs and vaccines targeting Covid-19 to reach Americans much faster than through standard approval channels. The FDA review process normally takes about six to 10 months, depending on the candidate’s priority status. Some treatments, such as certain cancer drugs, are cleared in just a couple of months.

Pfizer and federal and state government officials have been preparing to help distribute the vaccine within days of an FDA emergency authorization. The company’s vaccine will require special freezers to transport and store.

There are two key moments to watch for during an FDA advisory panel meeting. The first comes two days before the advisers meet, when the FDA typically releases its staff report on the clinical trial data. This will offer some insight into whether the agency is leaning toward authorizing the vaccine. The second is at the end of the meeting, when it will take a non-binding vote on whether FDA should clear the shot for public use.

The FDA staff will be combing through Pfizer’s raw data, which the public doesn’t have access to, rather than relying on the company’s own results to determine the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. The agency and Pfizer will each summarize their findings for the advisory panel.

Moderna Inc. has also released positive interim results from a final-stage trial and said it’s close to seeking emergency authorization of its Covid-19 vaccine. The company has said it expects final results from the study in about a week or two.

Should the FDA grant emergency authorization shortly after the meeting, there are some steps the agency would normally take for a vaccine, but may be skipped in this case. Under the regular vaccine approval process, the FDA would collect the results of a company’s quality testing as well as samples that the agency could test itself to ensure they meet U.S. standards before doses are released to the public.

Since early Covid-19 vaccines will not go through the regular approval process but rather be authorized on an emergency basis, the FDA can forgo collecting the data and samples. The agency will make the decision on a case-by-case basis, a spokeswoman said.

The FDA has also said emergency use regulations don’t require them to conduct inspections of manufacturing plants ahead of a vaccine authorization as they normally would with regular approval. The inspections serve as a check that manufacturers of drugs or vaccines can make quality products.- SOURCE-bloomberg.com/news/articles

 

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