Gregory J. Holman
The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. (Photo: USA Today Network, USA Today Network)
Drug maker Pfizer is producing a COVID-19 vaccine under clinical trial in Missouri.
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, a physician, tweeted about the news early Tuesday.
“I’m proud that Pfizer chose its St. Louis County facility to produce a new vaccine for #COVID19 simultaneously with clinical trials,” Page tweeted. “As a doctor, I’ve seen medicine save lives — but a #COVID19 vaccine would truly impact us all.”
I’m proud that @pfizer chose its St. Louis County facility to produce a new vaccine for #COVID19 simultaneously with clinical trials. As a doctor, I’ve seen medicine save lives – but a #COVID19 vaccine would truly impact us all. https://t.co/u6HAd80oUZ
— County Executive Sam Page (@DrSamPage) May 5, 2020
The St. Louis Business Journal reported Pfizer would be using its research and development facility in Chesterfield, a western suburb of St. Louis.
Missouri business leaders appeared to be quick to take note of the news.
A COVID-19 vaccine would nicely eclipse the @Ford F-150, @Boeing F-15 and ice cold @Budweiser as the Missouri-made product w/ largest global impact. Fingers crossed https://t.co/Q4WHpSYTGh
— Jack Cardetti (@jackcardetti) May 5, 2020
“A COVID-19 vaccine would nicely eclipse the Ford F-150, Boeing F-15 and ice cold Budweiser as the Missouri-made product w/ largest global impact,” tweeted Jack Cardetti, a Missouri political consultant associated with the Missouri medical cannabis industry. “Fingers crossed.”
In a news release posted early Tuesday, Pfizer said it, along with Germany-based BioNTech, would be “ramping up manufacturing capabilities to further increase production capacity in 2020/2021” for the vaccine.
They have already dosed the first participants at schools of medicine with New York University and the University of Maryland, according to the release.
The CEO of Pfizer called work on the new vaccine a “unique and robust clinical study program underway.”
There are four vaccine candidates, according to the news release, and they are being evaluated simultaneously, “in order to identify the safest and potentially most efficacious candidate in a greater number of volunteers, in a manner that will facilitate the sharing of data with regulatory authorities in real time.”
Authorities recently approved remdesivir, an antiviral drug made by Gilead, as a treatment for COVID-19, and scientists have raced to develop vaccines to help protect the population against the disease.
It could take 18 months or more to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, and the scientific research is accompanied by a moral dilemma, at least for some research plans: Should society deliberately infect people with a disease for which there is no cure in order to develop a vaccine?
“You’re weighing risks and benefit to the individual versus benefit to society as a whole,” David Magnus, director of the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics at Stanford University, told USA TODAY this week.
Gregory Holman is the investigative reporter for the News-Leader. Email news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and consider supporting vital local journalism by subscribing. Learn more by visiting News-Leader.com/subscribe.
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