Research on a new Pfizer vaccine that proved 90 percent effective in clinical trials against COVID-19 did not use fetal cells and is “ethically uncontroversial,” according to a pro-life research and education institute.
The Charlotte Lozier Institute, an arm of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, says Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech did not use cells from aborted fetuses during research for the vaccine, known as BNT162b2.
“That news may materially increase the number of people willing to be inoculated when the vaccine becomes generally available, perhaps avoiding a potentially explosive controversy over mandates that has been brewing in recent months,” ethicist Wesley J. Smith wrote on The National Review’s website Monday. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.
Pfizer and BioNTech said Monday the vaccine “was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants,” according to a news release. The 90 percent figure was higher than many experts said was necessary to stop the spread of Covid-19.
The vaccine was “developed using genetic sequencing on computers without using fetal cells,” Smith wrote.
All total, 17 vaccine candidates are listed as ethically uncontroversial by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, while five are listed as unethical.
“Many pro-lifers,” Smith noted, have said they would resist “taking any COVID vaccine if fetal cells taken from aborted fetuses were used in its development.”
The Pfizer study, still ongoing, involved 43,538 participants, and “no serious safety concerns have been observed,” the news release said.
It could be available for emergency use authorization by the end of the year. Pfizer said it expects to submit it to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval this month.
“Based on current projections we expect to produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021,” the news release said.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Sittithat Tangwitthayaphum
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.