Pfizer, Inovio report "positive" results on potential COVID-19 vaccines

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Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Action News coverage of the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. (WPVI) -- In healthcheck tonight - there's more progress in the race to make a coronavirus vaccine.

Pfizer says early data from the first human trials shows it DOES generate an immune response.

Pfizer is actually developing 4 potential vaccines simultaneously.

It will choose one for the final tests, and to go into full-scale production at the same time.

Today, Pfizer said that one of its vaccines produced more antibodies to the coronavirus than are found in the blood plasma of COVID-19 survivors.

That's an important measure of the immunity any vaccine should create.

So far, no serious side effects have been reported.

These first trials are small, mainly focused of evaluating the safety of the vaccine.

But Pfizer hopes to get the FDA's green light to go into large-scale trials this month.

Those would establish whether the vaccine actually creates immunity to COVID-19.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, based in Plymouth Meeting, also hopes to start large nationwide trials this month.

Yesterday, the Montgomery County company also said it's vaccine is performing well.

"What I can say generally, is so far, so good. We demonstrated the vaccine is safe. We also found the vaccine is immunogeneic, meaning we can see these immune responses that can potentially be protective against the COVID-19 virus," says Joseph Kim, Ph.D., Inovio's president and CEO.

Inovio says 94% of those in the small trial developed immunity, and it believes that immunity is strong enough to fend off exposure to the coronavirus.

And there were no serious side effects reported.

17 vaccines are now in trials, and Inovio's CEO says that's a plus.

"Realistically and practically, we need 3, 4, 5 successful vaccines to come through the finish line. So this is not one group, one vaccine need to win the race, really the race's against the virus," says Dr. Kim.

He says so many are needed to handle the vast number of people who will need protection against COVID-19.

So Dr. Kim says this race isn't just about who comes in first, but how many work the best.

Unlike many vaccines, Inovio's doesn't need refrigeration or freezing - that cuts costs.

The next phase of tests will include thousands of people of all ages, races, and ethnicities.

The first phase was expanded to include older adults, because of the toll COVID-19 takes on that age group.