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What Are Clinical Trials and How Do They Work?

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Key Points

  • Data from such trials have shown that two vaccines—one developed by Pfizer and BioNtech, the other by Moderna and the US National Institutes of Health—are about 95 percent effective.
  • Volunteers who are accepted receive two doses 21 days apart and get regular follow-up.
  • The only way of knowing whether a vaccine works is by providing a “control,” which is a demonstration of what would happen in its absence. 
  • Visit The Financial Today’s homepage for more stories.

WASHINGTON — To find out whether experimental COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, researchers design clinical trials involving thousands of volunteers, divided into groups that receive either the drug under investigation or a placebo. 

Data from such trials have shown that two vaccines—one developed by Pfizer and BioNtech, the other by Moderna and the US National Institutes of Health—are about 95 percent effective.

Here’s a look at how trials work:

Who leads clinical trials? 

American pharmaceutical Pfizer itself has led and financed a clinical trial of its vaccine involving almost 44,000 people in the United States, Germany, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil, and Argentina.

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