It is clear that the coronavirus still poses great risk with new cases, hospitalization rates, and deaths continuing to rise. But let’s share some good news. Today, Pfizer and partner BioNTech announced early positive data from their ongoing study of a mRNA-based vaccine to help prevent COVID-19 infections. The BNT162 vaccine program, dubbed Project Lightspeed, is evaluating at least four experimental vaccines, each of which represents a unique combination of mRNA format and target antigen. 

“These preliminary data are encouraging in that they provide an initial signal that BNT162b1 targeting the RBD SARS-CoV-2 is able to produce neutralizing antibody responses in humans at or above the levels observed in convalescent sera—and that it does so at relatively low dose levels. We look forward to providing further data updates on BNT162b1,” said Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech.

Here’s a rundown of other developments and stories related to the coronavirus:
  • A group of leading scientists put together a unified set of metrics and tools that make it easy for communities to fight the virus, including a new, online risk-assessment map that allows people to check the state or the county where they live and see a COVID-19 risk rating of green, yellow, orange, or red.
  • This week Gilead released its pricing plan for the coronavirus treatment remdesivir. 
  • The FDA launched the CURE Drug Repurposing Collaboratory, an online forum for exchanging clinical practice data to identify potential new uses for existing drugs to treat COVID-19.
  • GAO report released last week found that the testing data that has been reported to the CDC has been neither complete nor consistent.
  • The WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, unveiled a plan Friday to purchase 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the highest risk populations of the world.