Early data for a COVID-19 vaccine candidate from Pfizer and BioNTech were better than expected. In this video, part of a series on the scientific and investment implications of COVID-19, Portfolio Manager Daniel Lyons and Research Analyst Agustin Mohedas explain why the results are so encouraging and what it could mean for the trajectory of the pandemic.

Key takeaways:

  • This week, Pfizer and BioNTech delivered preliminary data for their novel COVID-19 vaccine candidate, showing a roughly 90% reduction in symptomatic infection rates in a late-stage clinical trial – a remarkable result.
  • The outcome is promising not just for Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine, but also for other vaccines under development that target the same receptor binding domain the virus uses to enter human cells.
  • Multiple vaccine approvals could help bring an end to the global pandemic and would come at a critical time as new cases of the disease accelerate around the world.


mRNA, or messenger RNA, carries the genetic information copied from DNA to other parts of the cell for processing. The mRNA approach to fighting COVID-19 uses the mRNA to elicit an immune response to build immunity.

A T-cell, or T-lymphocyte, is a type of white blood cell that is involved in controlling and shaping the body's immune response to infection.