The CEO of America's largest pharmaceutical company has said he believes vaccine for COVID-19 could be ready for approval as soon as next month, and for distribution by the end of the year.
Albert Bourla, CEO of New York-based Pfizer, told CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday morning that he was optimistic.
He said there was a 60 per cent chance that his scientists will know by the end of October whether their vaccine was effective, and that, once the green light was given, doses could be produced quickly.
'We have a good chance that we will know if the product works by the end of October,' he said.
'And then, of course, it is regulator's job to issue a license or not.'
Asked whether that meant that he could say a vaccine would be ready by the new year, he replied: 'I don't know if they have to wait until 2021.'
Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, said he felt that his company could have a COVID vaccine soon
Pfizer is currently running trials on 30,000 people, and increasing the trial to 44,000
Asked whether he felt it was likely that the U.S. authorities would approve the vaccine, he replied: 'I cannot say what the FDA will do. But I think it's a likely scenario, and we are preparing for it.'
Bourla said that Pfizer was 'already manufacturing' and had so far created hundreds of thousands of doses.
He said the move was 'just in case we have a good study readout, conclusive, and FDA plus the advisory committee feels comfortable that we will be ready.'
The pharma giant, with 88,000 employees working in 150 countries, is one of several biotech firms working at full speed on a vaccine.
Pfizer has spent $1.5 billion so far, Bourla said.
There have been 6.5 million cases of COVID-19 and almost 200,000 deaths from the virus
The United States is the hardest-hit nation for