FDA approves new Pfizer oncolytic virus vaccine in prevention of CMV in adults
Image credit: Pfizer
The drug maker Pfizer has just received final approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for COVID-19. It’s an an oncolytic virus vaccine used in the prevention of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection in adults.The vaccine works by transferring the genes of an oncolytic virus from a healthy person to a susceptible animal. This allows the immune system to mount an attack against the CMV infection.In a press release the company explains that CMV is a common virus in humans, occurring in about half of people at some point in their lives. While this number continues to decline in developed countries, it continues to show up in some low-income areas and in developing countries. It is believed to be a leading cause of the transmission of viral hemorrhagic fevers.About 15 percent of people will be infected by CMV before they are 60 years old. About half of these people will be at risk of health complications from the infection, such as nephritis (hepatitis), liver cancer, or brain inflammation.The company says:In order to protect against infection, millions of people are vaccinated with oral CMV vaccines from animal donors. According to Pfizer, the COVID-19 vaccine will be the first-ever vaccine to be given to a larger group of people by animals from the same family as humans.Pfizer says the vaccine was developed as part of a multi-year research program using human gene transfer. The company says it’s now the first new vaccine approved by the FDA for CMV vaccine prevention in humans in more than a decade.Aja Cosgrove, head of corporate communications at Pfizer, says in the release that the FDA’s approval follows extensive safety and efficacy studies that involved 1,450 patients.