Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Pfizer Coronavirus Vaccine Enters Phase 2 and 3 Clinical Trials

Health + Wellness
German biotechnology company Biontech and U.S. drug giant Pfizer will begin the late-stage global study using up to 30,000 participants. Cravetiger / Getty Images

German biotechnology company Biontech and U.S. drugs giant Pfizer announced on Tuesday that they would start Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials of their BNT162b2 vaccine after getting the go-ahead from regulators.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the global trial for thousands of participants at 120 sites in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world.

"Today, we are starting our late-stage global study, which will include up to 30,000 participants," said Biontech CEO Ugur Sahin.

Public health authorities across the globe have pushed to accelerate the development of a vaccine, including the U.S. with its Operation Warp Speed. Experts believe that a successful vaccine would ultimately bring the pandemic under control.

If the study is successful, the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine candidate could be submitted for regulatory approval as early as October.

'The Power of Vaccines'

The World Health Organization (WHO) is tracking more than 140 candidate vaccines of which only 5 are in Phase 3 clinical trials. American biotechnology company Moderna has also announced Phase 3 trials this week.

However, Western countries have also fought to gain rights to the first batch of vaccines, raising concerns that impoverished countries may be the last to receive them.

Phase 3 clinical trials are the final regulatory hurdle before approval. Amid a rise in disinformation campaigns questioning the safety of vaccines, the WHO has pushed to educate societies on the benefits of such medical treatments.

"The COVID-19 pandemic is unraveling many of the gains we have made through immunization campaigns ... putting hundreds of millions of people at risk," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last month. "Now is the moment for the world to come together in solidarity to realize the power of vaccines."

Reposted with permission from Deutsche Welle.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

A new study invites parents of cancer patients to answer questions about their environment. FatCamera / Getty Images

By Jennifer Sass, Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, Dr. Philip J. Landrigan and Simon Strong

"Prevention is the cure for child/teen cancer." This is the welcoming statement on a website called 'TheReasonsWhy.Us', where families affected by childhood cancers can sign up for a landmark new study into the potential environmental causes.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Madagascar has been experiencing ongoing droughts and food insecurity since 2016. arturbo / Getty Images

Nearly 1.6 million people in the southern part of Madagascar have faced food insecurity since 2016, experiencing one drought after another, the United Nations World Food Program reported.

Read More Show Less
Lakota spiritual leader Chief Arvol Looking Horse attends a demonstration against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico in front of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 28, 2015. Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is planning to cancel the controversial Keystone XL pipeline on the first day of his administration, a document reported by CBC on Sunday suggests.

Read More Show Less

Trending

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst stand at the Orion spacecraft during a visit at the training unit of the Columbus space laboratory at the European Astronaut training centre of the European Space Agency ESA in Cologne, Germany on May 18, 2016. Ina Fassbender / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

By Monir Ghaedi

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep most of Europe on pause, the EU aims for a breakthrough in its space program. The continent is seeking more than just a self-sufficient space industry competitive with China and the U.S.; the industry must also fit into the European Green Deal.

Read More Show Less