Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced Tuesday local time that it will team up with German company BioNTech to develop a new coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine,media reported. It is understood that the German company is currently developing a new type of immunotherapy. On Tuesday, the two sides signed a letter of intent to jointly develop a messenger RNA-based vaccine to prevent people from contracting the new coronavirus.
It’s worth noting that any vaccine takes at least a year to 18 months to develop and validate before it can actually be put into use, so don’t think the partnership between the two companies will lead to any short-term solutions. But a combination of one of the largest and most mature companies in pharmaceutical biotechnology and a young company at the forefront of mRNA-based immunotherapy is a promising move.
Instead of using samples from the virus itself, as a typical vaccine does, these therapies rely on RNA to initiate the production of proteins very similar to the virus, triggering the body to produce effective antibodies against actual targets.
The partnership between the two companies could begin clinical trials as early as April. While this means that their partnership is about to begin, there are still many details to be worked out, such as financial terms and commercialization of any outcome, because one is an American team and one is a German team. In fact, the willingness of the two companies to start work before these details are completed is enough to make people aware of the urgency behind the project.