How often do vaccine trials hit paydirt?

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 09:30 in Health & Medicine

Vaccines are more likely to get through clinical trials than any other type of drug — but have been given relatively little pharmaceutical industry support during the last two decades, according to a new study by MIT scholars. Over a two-decade span from January 2000 to January 2020, private-sector vaccine-development efforts succeeded in bringing a drug to market 39.6 percent of the time, the researchers found. By contrast, programs to develop anti-infective therapeutics — medicines that lessen the severity of illness, including antibiotics — succeeded 16.3 percent of the time. “The probability of success for vaccines is reliably higher than for any other drug development area,” says MIT economist Andrew Lo, co-author of a new paper detailing the study. At a glance, that might seem to augur well for drug-development prospects during the Covid-19 pandemic, since over 100 projects globally are aimed at finding a vaccine for the virus. But scientists may be...

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