ROME, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- The news that trials for a vaccine from two leading pharmaceutical companies show it to be 90 percent effective against the coronavirus helped send European markets surging and a wave of positive headlines on news sites.
United States-based pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and German immunotherapy company BioNTech announced Monday that a vaccine they are jointly developing was effective in preventing infection in at least 9 of 10 cases measured against a placebo.
Virologists have said that a vaccine would have to be at least 50-percent to 75-percent effective in order to curb the spread of the deadly virus, which has infected at least 50 million people and claimed the lives of nearly 1.3 million, according to data from the World Health Organization.
"I believe we can see light at the end of the tunnel," Albert Bourla, Pfizer's chairman and chief executive officer, said Monday. "I believe this is the most significant medical advance in the last 100 years if you count the impact this will have on public health and the global economy."
In a statement, Pfizer said more tests would be carried out, and news sites warned that while the vaccine could be available in limited quantities before the end of this year, it would not be widely available until the third quarter of 2021.
But that did not prevent European markets from rallying on the news, though analysts told Xinhua results of the United States presidential election also helped buoy markets. Joe Biden has declared victory for the election, while sitting President Donald Trump hasn't conceded and is pushing for legal challenges.
The blue-chip indexes from stock markets in Frankfurt, London, Madrid, Milan, Paris, and other major markets all surged at least 5 percent Monday, with the Bolsa de Madrid set the pace, climbing by 8.6 percent.
Oil prices rose on European markets on Monday, based on speculation that transportation will start ticking up, while prices for gold -- a traditional safe haven for investors during unpredictable periods -- fell.
News sites from across Europe had upbeat reactions.
The London Times called the news about the vaccine "remarkable," while the Daily Telegraph said it was "the kind of news the world needs" during trying times. El Mundo in Madrid said the news was "what the world was waiting for," and El Pais said the vaccine could mean that the world's "COVID nightmare could be over next year."
In France, Le Figaro said "the end of the pandemic is within sight" and Liberation called it a "scientific miracle." Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine said the news was "what everyone was awaiting" and Bild just said "Finally." Meanwhile, in Italy, Corriere della Sera called the news "extraordinary" and La Repubblica declared "the worst is over."
Most articles stressed that patience was necessary, since the widespread availability of the vaccine was "at least ten months away," according to La Repubblica in Rome. Others said more good news could be on the way, as other vaccines were in clinical trials and could also be available soon.
But Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said Monday that it had a contract for 300 million doses of the vaccine, enough to vaccinate around one-third of the European Union's nearly 450 million residents, given that the tests from Pfizer and BioNTech require an individual to take two doses in order to acquire immunity from the coronavirus.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, countries around the world -- including Italy, France, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States -- are racing to find a vaccine.