Scott McClallen, The Center Square
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Tero Vesalainen, Shutterstock
Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE announced Tuesday the first participants had been dosed in the United States clinical trial for a BNT162 vaccine program aimed to prevent COVID-19.
The first group was tested in Germany last week.
Pfizer will manufacture the COVID-19 vaccine in Kalamazoo, Mich., Andover, Mass., and Chesterfield, Mo.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer celebrated the news in a news release.
“This is great news for our families, our neighbors, and those serving on the front lines during this crisis,” Whitmer said. “COVID-19 has shown how vulnerable our country is when it comes to supply chain and much of the lifesaving materials we need are manufactured out of the country. That’s why we are so proud that one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities in the world is the Pfizer site right here in Kalamazoo, Michigan.”
The trial in the United States will include up to 360 healthy people in two groups, one between the ages of 18 years old and 55 years old and another between 65 years old and 85 years old, according to a news release.
The younger cohort will be immunized first, followed by the second group if the first group’s testing shows evidence of safety and immunogenicity.
The New York University School of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine, and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital are performing initial testing.
The two groups said they are working to scale production to millions of vaccines in 2020 and hundreds of millions by 2021 in anticipation of a successful program.
“It is encouraging that we have been able to leverage more than a decade of experience in developing our mRNA platforms to initiate a global clinical trial in multiple regions for our vaccine program in such a short period,” BioNTech CEO and Co-founder Ugur Sahin said in a statement.
“We are optimistic that advancing multiple vaccine candidates into human trials will allow us to identify the safest, most effective vaccination options against COVID-19.”
COVID-19 has infected 43,950 Michiganders and killed 4,135 as of Monday.
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