Germany has approved the first clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine, the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI) announced on Wednesday.
German pharmaceutical company BioNTech has been authorized to test its BNT162 vaccine program on 200 healthy volunteers aged between 18 to 55 years, according to PEI, the Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicines.
“Trials of vaccine candidates in humans are an important milestone on the road to safe and efficacious vaccines against COVID-19 for the population in Germany and internationally,” according to PEI.
After an observation period, further test persons of the same age range would be vaccinated in a second phase of the clinical trial which would then involve volunteers with an increased infection risk, according to PEI.
“Next year we can then look at the results and discuss whether the data allows for an application for approval,” PEI President Klaus Cichutek told the German newspaper Bild on Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, BioNTech and U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced that they would jointly develop the BNT162 vaccine as “part of a global development program,” BioNTech said.
“The speed with which we were able to move from the start of the program to trial initiation speaks to the high level of engagement from everyone involved,” said Ugur Sahin, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder of BioNTech.