By Onur Orhan
SAKARYA, Turkey (AA) - At least 40 volunteers received the Pfizer and BioNTech pharmaceutical firms' novel coronavirus vaccine candidate in northwestern Turkey, the head of a medical school in the region said Friday.
In an online statement, Dr. Oguz Karabay, the head of Sakarya University's Faculty of Medicine, said Phase 3 trials of the Pfizer-BioNTech candidate vaccine began and were ongoing on many volunteers across the globe.
The volunteers mainly comprise of health workers and academics, but include others as well, said Karabay.
"The vaccine was administered to 40 volunteers. Satisfactory results have been achieved with the Pfizer-BioNTech company's vaccine. Volunteers who received vaccines are followed up by the Adult Vaccine Polyclinic in the Sakarya Training and Research Hospital infection service," he added.
Karabay further urged everyone to follow the measures against the virus and stressed the importance of personal hygiene, mask wearing, and social distance.
"We're aware that citizens want to help healthcare professionals. So, measures should be followed meticulously and one must not venture outside unless necessary," he said.
US pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech announced Wednesday that their coronavirus vaccine candidate "met all of the study’s primary efficacy endpoints," and was ready to seek approval from the US Food and Drug Administration "within days."
The announcement marked the first set of complete results from a Phase 3 vaccine trial as the coronavirus has currently infected more than 57.2 million people in 191 countries and regions worldwide.
The final efficacy analysis showed the vaccine was 95% effective against COVID-19 starting 28 days after the first dose, the companies said in a statement.
The coronavirus has claimed 1.36 million lives worldwide and 36.6 million people have recovered since it was first reported last December.