Based on interim evidence from a late-stage study, Moderna Inc’s experimental vaccine is 94.5 percent effective in preventing COVID-19. The firm gave this report on Monday, becoming the second U.S. drugmaker to announce results that far surpass expectations.
Along with Pfizer Inc, which is already over 90% effective and awaiting more safety reports and regulatory review, the United States may get two vaccinations approved for emergency use in December. Meanwhile, as much as 60 million vaccine doses could be available this year.
The two companies produced the vaccines with modern technologies, messenger RNA (mRNA). This is an effective weapon to combat a pandemic that so far affected 54 million people worldwide and killed 1.3 million.
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In comparison to Pfizer’s vaccine, Moderna’s shot may be kept at normal refrigeration temperatures, which may make it simpler to distribute, a vital concern as COVID-19 outbreaks are on the increase, smashing new records in the United States and driving several European countries back into lockdowns.
“We’re going to get a vaccine that will stop COVID-19,” said Moderna President Stephen Hoge in a telephone interview.
Moderna’s interim study centered on 95 infections among the participants getting the vaccine or placebo. Just five infections developed in volunteers who administered the mRNA-1273 vaccine, given 28 days apart in two doses.
Moderna to get authorization
“The vaccine is actually the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. expert on infectious diseases. He encouraged Americans not to let their guard down, and keep washing their hands and be careful concerning social distancing.
Even with quick authorization, the vaccines will not arrive in time for many people celebrating the U.S. Thanksgiving and holidays at the end of the year as family and friends come together.
Moderna plans to provide adequate safety evidence needed for U.S. approval in the next week or so. It also intends to apply for emergency usage authorization (EUA) in the coming weeks.
Shares of the firm, which have more than quadrupled this year, leaped 8 percent, as stocks in Europe and the United States grew. The benchmark S&P 500 increased by 1%, while the pan-European STOXX 600 increased by 1.3%.
Shares of Pfizer and its affiliate BioNTech, whose vaccine would be shipped at significantly colder temperatures, decreased by 4.3 percent and 16.4 percent, respectively, whereas British AstraZeneca, which has yet to release any data from its late-stage vaccine studies, decreased by 1 percent.
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