Pfizer dashes hope for COVID-19 vaccine data before the election

Albert Bourla, chief executive officer of Pfizer pharmaceutical company, bangs a gavel after ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Thursday afternoon, January 17, 2019 in New York City.

Enlarge / Albert Bourla, chief executive officer of Pfizer pharmaceutical company, bangs a gavel after ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on Thursday afternoon, January 17, 2019 in New York City. (credit: Getty | Drew Angerer)

Pfizer’s chief executive has dashed any lingering hope that we’ll glimpse COVID-19 vaccine data before next week’s election.

The pharmaceutical giant has the speediest clinical-trial design among the frontrunners in the COVID-19 vaccine race. And for weeks, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has dangled the possibility that his company would have results by the end of October—an enticing prospect picked up by President Donald Trump, who has pushed for October vaccine news to bolster his re-election bid.

But in a call with investors Tuesday, Bourla indicated an October release was nearly impossible now. Researchers conducting the over 40,000-person trial have not yet analyzed preliminary data and, even if the data were available tomorrow, an outside panel would need at least a week to analyze any results, Bourla said.

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