SEVERE WX : Freeze Warning View Alerts

BioNTech and Pfizer will seek emergency US authorization for vaccine on Friday, CEO says

German company BioNTech and its partner, drug giant Pfizer, will ask the US to allow emergency use of their Covid-19 vaccine candidate, CEO Ugur Sahin tells CNN's Fred Pleitgen in an exclusive interview.

Posted: Nov 19, 2020 6:50 PM
Updated: Nov 19, 2020 6:50 PM

German company BioNTech and its partner, drug giant Pfizer, will ask the US on Friday to allow emergency use of their Covid-19 vaccine candidate, CEO Ugur Sahin told CNN during an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

Sahin said the company will file paperwork for the emergency use of the vaccine with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

A final analysis of the Phase 3 trial of the vaccine shows it was 95% effective in preventing infections, even in older adults, and caused no serious safety concerns, Pfizer said Wednesday.

The announcement of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, followed this week by a similarly effective rival from the US company Moderna, raised spirits -- and stock markets -- across the world, as control of the virus finally appeared to be in sight.

Sahin expects the vaccine's approval process to be completed and distribution to begin before the end of 2020. He said that if everything goes to plan, Covid-19 could be under control halfway through 2021.

"Depending on how fast this [review] is really accomplished, we might get an authorization, or conditional approval already in 2020 which might help us start distribution of the first vaccine batches already in 2020," Sahin said, adding that he couldn't say exactly how long the review process would take.

"When we submit packages we receive questions and of course addressing the questions takes time," he said.

Sahin told CNN's Fred Pleitgen that BioNTech had already sent manufacturing data to the US regulator.

"We met the requirements defined by the FDA and we of course communicated the manufacturing data," he said Wednesday.

"Our goal is to supply several hundred million of doses in the first four to five months of 2021 and this is will already have an impact in the control of Covid-19," he said.

"I am confident that if everything goes well, and we have a very organized vaccine supply, that we could have a normal summer and winter 2021."

The BioNTech CEO did stress the important role governments had to play in the next phase of the pandemic.

"[The] goal must be, of all governments, to ensure that there is a high vaccination rate in the population before we go into autumn," he said.

A scientific power couple

Sahin and his wife Ozlem Tureci have dedicated their lives to the field of oncology and infectious diseases. The pair set up BioNTech in the central German city of Mainz in 2008.

Both scientists come from Turkish backgrounds. Sahin was born in Iskenderun, a city on Turkey's Mediterranean coast.

He met Tureci, the daughter of a Turkish physician, when the pair were both embarking on their scientific careers.

In May, the couple told CNN they felt compelled to "provide something for society," given the work they had done in their field over the last two decades.

"It is not important from where you come. It's important what you do," Sahin said Wednesday when asked about his roots. He said he and Tureci were both "devoted to science" and shared the same vision.

"We never focused on ourselves. We always focused on our vision," he said.

Sahin also praised the pair's team at BioNTech, noting that some of the students he mentored had gone on to become leading scientists at the company.

He said the team's next duty was to enable supply of the vaccine.

The BioNTech and Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at about minus 75 degrees Celsius, which is about 50 degrees colder than any vaccine currently used in the US.

Concerns have been raised about the vaccine's transportation and storage needs. Sahin said BioNTech is working on a formula for its vaccine that could allow it to be shipped at room temperature.

"Since the development was so fast, we were not able to work out better, more stable conditions," he said.

"We believe that in the second half of 2021 we will have come up with a formulation which is comparable to any other type of vaccine."

Lafayette
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 30°
Kokomo
Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 17°
Rensselaer
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 32°
Lafayette
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 30°
Danville
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 32°
Frankfort
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 25°
Frankfort
Cloudy
25° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 25°
Monticello
Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 25°
Monticello
Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 25°
Logansport
Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 27°
Snow to Two Nights of Freezing...
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 709455

Reported Deaths: 13234
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion967001722
Lake51824946
Allen39279673
Hamilton34580406
St. Joseph34207541
Elkhart27376432
Vanderburgh22091394
Tippecanoe21886212
Porter17952299
Johnson17556374
Hendricks16837310
Clark12705190
Madison12358337
Vigo12226244
Monroe11484166
LaPorte11175204
Delaware10374184
Howard9677211
Kosciusko9152114
Hancock8000139
Bartholomew7896155
Warrick7698155
Floyd7567176
Wayne6910198
Grant6852171
Boone6562100
Morgan6404138
Dubois6086117
Marshall5792109
Dearborn570776
Cass5689102
Henry5582101
Noble542683
Jackson493970
Shelby479895
Lawrence4347118
Gibson429089
Harrison428970
Clinton420253
Montgomery418386
DeKalb412184
Whitley381439
Huntington380180
Miami373265
Knox367089
Steuben366657
Putnam353360
Jasper351346
Wabash347878
Adams338153
Ripley334968
Jefferson313280
White308554
Daviess289699
Wells286681
Decatur279192
Fayette277362
Greene270785
Posey269133
Scott261553
LaGrange254270
Clay253545
Randolph235880
Washington231131
Spencer228031
Jennings225147
Fountain208945
Sullivan207942
Starke205452
Owen192656
Fulton192140
Jay186429
Carroll186120
Perry181036
Orange178053
Rush170824
Vermillion166143
Franklin165635
Tipton161043
Parke144616
Blackford133931
Pike130334
Pulaski114045
Newton104234
Brown100740
Crawford97914
Benton97113
Martin82915
Warren80115
Switzerland7698
Union70110
Ohio56011
Unassigned0408

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events