Shares in drugs titan Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) surged on Wednesday in New York as did those of German group BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) as the pair posted positive early-stage trial results for a vaccine against the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19).

An ongoing collaborative Phase1/2 clinical trial in the US and involving 45 participants aged between 18 and 55 have received either 10, 30, or 100 microgram doses of the drug BNT162b1 vaccine or a placebo over 21 days.

READ: Coronavirus: What’s happening in the labs of pharma companies worldwide

It was reported that 24 people who received two doses of the vaccine had ‘significantly elevated’ antibodies within four weeks of the first injection.

“These preliminary data are encouraging in that they provide an initial signal that BNT162b1 targeting the RBD SARS-CoV-2 is able to produce neutralizing antibody responses in humans at or above the levels observed in convalescent sera – and that it does so at relatively low dose levels. We look forward to providing further data updates on BNT162b1,” said Ugur Sahin, the CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech, in a statement.

The treatment is not yet approved for distribution but if it is, Pfizer aims to produce up to 100 million doses by the end of the year and potentially more than 1.2 billion doses through 2021.

The virus has claimed the lives of over half a million people worldwide and sent nations into lockdowns. It was first detected in China late last year. Many drug companies are racing to find treatments or preventative therapies.

There are more than 140 vaccines currently being developed in a bid to get out of the crisis. 

BioNTech shares in New York added over 6% at $71.02, while Pfizer shares added nearly 5% to $34.29 each.

Contact the author at giles@proactiveinvestors.com