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Gov. Lamont visits Pfizer Groton to discuss research of COVID-19 vaccine

Early tests on the Pfizer vaccine have showed encouraging results according to reports.

GROTON, Conn. — The race continues to find a COVID-19 vaccine. The development of the vaccine, which usually would take years, has been expedited to help protect people from COVID-19 as soon as possible. 

One company making progress on a vaccine is Pfizer. 

Governor Ned Lamont was part of a Wednesday morning news conference at Pfizer Groton to discuss the company’s research to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.

The visit comes as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Wednesday that the U.S. has signed a contract with Pfizer for delivery in December of the first 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine the pharmaceutical company is working to develop.

The U.S. could buy another 500 million doses under the agreement, Azar said.

“Now those would, of course, have to be safe and effective” and be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Azar said during an appearance on Fox News.

Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE announced separately that the agreement is with HHS and the Defense Department for a vaccine candidate the companies are developing jointly.

The agreement is part of President Donald Trump's Operation Warp Speed vaccine program, under which multiple COVID-19 vaccines are being developed simultaneously. The program aims to deliver 300 million doses of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine by January 2021, according to HHS.

The first of four experimental COVID-19 vaccines being tested by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech showed encouraging results in very early testing of 45 people, the companies announced at the beginning of July.

Study volunteers given either a low or medium dose, in two shots about a month apart, had immune responses in the range expected to be protective, when compared to some COVID-19 survivors, according to the preliminary results.

Side effects were typical for vaccines, mostly pain at the injection site and fever.

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The report has been submitted for publication in a scientific journal but not yet reviewed. With its other potential candidates still in the earliest stage of testing, Pfizer aims to open a large-scale study this summer but can't yet say which shot is best to include.

The vaccine being developed by Pfizer also works to trigger a similar dual immune response as reported in another rapidly developing vaccine from Oxford University. Pfizer and BioNTech also released an encouraging early report Monday.

Nearly two dozen potential vaccines are in various stages of human testing worldwide, with a handful entering necessary late-stage testing to prove effectiveness.

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