Pfizer’s late-stage trial is near complete enrollment with 42,000 volunteers

In this May 4, 2020 photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the first patient enrolled in Pfizer’s COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, receives an injection.

University of Maryland School of Medicine | AP

Pfizer’s late-stage coronavirus vaccine trial has enrolled more than 42,000 volunteers, the company announced Tuesday when it released a mixed third-quarter earnings report.

Nearly 36,000 of the volunteers have already received the second of the company’s two-dose Covid-19 vaccine, the company said. Pfizer has as been working alongside German drugmaker BioNTech on the experimental vaccine. It contains genetic material called messenger RNA, or mRNA, which scientists hope provokes the immune system to fight the virus.

In September, Pfizer expanded the enrollment of its phase three trial to up to 44,000 volunteers from the initial target of up to 30,000 volunteers. The company said the expansion would allow it to further increase diversity in the trial as well as include adolescents as young as 16 years of age and people with preexisting conditions.

The update on the trial comes as Pfizer reports a mixed third-quarter. Third-quarter sales dropped 4.3%, hurt in part by lower demand for some of its drugs due to the pandemic.

Sales fell to $12.13 billion, down from $12.68 billion a year ago and lower than the $12.32 billion Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting. Still, the company’s profits were slightly better than expected at 72 cents per share, higher than the 71 cents analysts were expecting.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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