Pfizer’s phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trial has enrolled more than 42,000 volunteers, the company announced Tuesday when it released a mixed third-quarter earnings report.
It said nearly 36,000 of the volunteers have already received the second of its two-dose Covid-19 vaccine. Pfizer has as been working alongside German drug-maker 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. 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 old and people with preexisting conditions.
The phase three trials are a critical last step needed to get the vaccines cleared for distribution. Three other U.S.-backed candidates are in phase three: Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. Pfizer expects to apply for an emergency use authorization with the Food and Drug Administration next month.