In early January, about the only thing the world’s scientists knew for sure about the novel coronavirus was its genetic profile. Now, some 300 days later, vaccine developers are on the brink of a major victory against a pathogen that has inflicted untold personal and economic damage.
Virus specialists including Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease doctor, predicted in early 2020 that it would take a year to 18 months to develop a vaccine to confront the contagion. Moderna Inc. and Pfizer Inc.’s collaboration with BioNTech SE are poised to beat that forecast if preliminary positive results from their vaccine trials hold up.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Tuesday that the company had reached a key safety-data milestone and would apply for U.S. emergency-use authorization. The news is fueling optimism for the quest to halt a disease that has killed more than 1.3 million people and continues to run rampant.