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Promising Results Seen in Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine After Phase 1 Trial by University of Maryland School of Medicine

November 19, 2020

An mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine Developed by Pfizer and BioNTech Found to be 95 Percent Effective

Kathleen Neuzil, MD MPHJust six months after beginning a clinical development program that first enrolled volunteers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), Pfizer and BioNTech report interim results showing an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine exhibited no serious safety concerns and has been found to be 95 percent effective in protecting individuals from COVID-19.

The announcement from Pfizer and BioNTech about interim results from their Phase 3 trials comes after researchers at UMSOM’s Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health began a Phase 1 study of earlier constructs of this vaccine in May of this year. This latest data on the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA-based vaccine candidate could ultimately help move the vaccine a step closer to licensure as a key protection against COVID-19, which has taken the lives of  nearly a quarter of million Americans so far in 2020.

Kirsten Lyke, MDThese remarkable results provide hope for this vaccine candidate, as well as other similar COVID-19 vaccines in clinical testing, at a time when we see the nation suffering from the extreme consequences of this pandemic,” said Kathleen Neuzil, MD MPH, the Myron M. Levine, MD, DTPH, Professor in Vaccinology, Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics, and Director of the CVD. Dr. Neuzil and Kirsten Lyke, MD, Professor of Medicine, are the investigators for the vaccine trial. The first participant was vaccinated on May 4, 2020.

Participants in the Phase 1 study at UMSOM received two injections a month apart of different constructs of the vaccine. The first group included healthy adults aged 18 to 55, and the next group included volunteers aged 65 to 85 years of age. The researchers investigated different dosages and types of the vaccine candidates to learn which one is best tolerated and produced the strongest immune response.

E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBAThis is exciting news about the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine. Our vaccine experts here at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have been working tirelessly on research to bring this pandemic under control. We have prioritized reaching communities most impacted by this virus, including those at risk of exposure, elderly populations, and those with underlying health conditions,” said Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, who is also Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, UM Baltimore, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine.

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Now in its third century, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world -- with 45 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs; and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished two-time winner of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research.  With an operating budget of more than $1.2 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic and clinically based care for nearly 2 million patients each year. The School of Medicine has more than $563 million in extramural funding, with most of its academic departments highly ranked among all medical schools in the nation in research funding. As one of the seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has a total population of nearly 9,000 faculty and staff, including 2,500 student trainees, residents, and fellows. The combined School of Medicine and Medical System (“University of Maryland Medicine”) has an annual budget of nearly $6 billion and an economic impact more than $15 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine faculty, which ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity, is an innovator in translational medicine, with 600 active patents and 24 start-up companies. The School of Medicine works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit medschool.umaryland.edu.

About the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health

For over 40 years, researchers in the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health have worked domestically and internationally to develop, test, and deploy vaccines to aid the world’s underserved populations. CVD is an academic enterprise engaged in the full range of infectious disease intervention from basic laboratory research through vaccine development, pre-clinical and clinical evaluation, large-scale pre-licensure field studies, and post-licensure assessments. CVD has worked to eliminate vaccine-preventable diseases. CVD has created and tested vaccines against cholera, typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever, non-typhoidal Salmonella disease, shigellosis (bacillary dysentery), Escherichia coli diarrhea, nosocomial pathogens, tularemia, influenza, malaria, and other infectious diseases. CVD’s research covers the broader goal of improving global health by conducting innovative, leading research in Baltimore and around the world. CVD researchers are developing new and improved ways to diagnose, prevent, treat, control, and eliminate diseases of global impact. Currently, these diseases include typhoid, Shigella, E. coli diarrhea, malaria, and other vaccine-preventable infectious diseases. CVD researchers have been involved in critical vaccine development for emerging pathogens such as Ebola and Zika. In addition, CVD’s work focuses on the ever-growing challenge of antimicrobial resistance.

Contact

Office of Public Affairs
655 West Baltimore Street
Bressler Research Building 14-002
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-1559

Contact Media Relations
(410) 706-5260

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