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When Will Covid Be Defeated? You’ll Need Patience: Coronavirus Q&A

A health worker holds a blood sample during clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine at Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Florida on Sept. 9, 2020.
Photographer: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg

With coronavirus deaths globally approaching 1.3 million, the world needed some good news when Pfizer and German partner BioNTech became the first companies to announce positive results from a late-stage vaccine trial. But there are still plenty of unanswered questions about the virus and the potential weapons to combat it. I asked Michael Kinch, a vaccine specialist at Washington University in St. Louis, and virologist Marion Koopmans at the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, about the risks and challenges that lie ahead.

James Paton: Michael, the results showing the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 is the big news this week. With cases surging past 10 million in the U.S. and rising in many other parts of the world, we desperately need an exit strategy. Does this suggest we could soon have a way out of the crisis and is the euphoria justified?