Moderna said Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine has proven highly effective in a major experiment, a second boost to hope in the global race for a chance to tame the antivirus that is now killing more than 8,000 people a day worldwide.
The company said its vaccine appears to be 94.5% effective, according to preliminary data from Moderna’s ongoing study. A week ago, Pfizer Inc. The competition says its COVID-19 vaccine appears to be similarly effective – news that puts the two companies on track to obtain permission within weeks for emergency use in the US
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US government’s chief infectious disease expert, said the results are “really amazing”. Earlier this year, Fauci said he would be happy with the COVID-19 vaccine that was 60% effective.
A vaccine can’t come fast enough, with virus cases topping 11 million in the United States over the weekend – 1 million of them were recorded in the past week alone – and governors and mayors are stepping up restrictions ahead of Thanksgiving. The pandemic has killed more than 1.3 million people worldwide, more than 245,000 of them in the United States
Dr. Stephen Hugh, President of Moderna, welcomed the “really important milestone” but said it was most reassuring to get similar results from two different companies.
“It should give us all hope that the vaccine is really capable of stopping this epidemic and hopefully it will bring us back to our lives,” Hugh told the Associated Press. “Moderna will not be the only one that solves this problem. It will require many vaccines” to meet global demand, he added.
The National Institutes of Health helped produce the vaccine that Moderna makes, and the director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr Francis Collins, said the exciting news from two companies “gives us a lot of confidence that we’re on the path toward getting effective vaccines.”
But he warned, “We are also at this really dark time,” saying that people cannot let their guard down during the months it will take the doses of any vaccines approved by the FDA to start reaching a large proportion of the population.
If the FDA permits emergency use of a Moderna or Pfizer filter, there will be limited and fortified supplies before the end of the year.
Both vaccines require two injections, several weeks apart. US officials said they hoped to get about 20 million fresh doses and another 20 million doses of the vaccine produced by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech for use in late December.
It has not yet been decided who is first in line. But the Minister of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, said that the hope is that adequate doses will be available by the end of January to vaccinate adults over the age of 65, who are most at risk of contracting the Coronavirus, and health care workers. Fauci said it could take until spring or summer enough for anyone who doesn’t have a high risk and wants a chance to have one.
Another important message: Additional vaccines that work in different ways are still being tested – and despite the promising news about our Moderna and Pfizer shots, more volunteers are Need For those studies.
Shares opened higher on the back of the news on Wall Street. Moderna was likely to reach an all-time high. Markets in Asia and Europe also rose sharply.
Moderna vaccine is being studied in 30,000 volunteers who received the real or placebo vaccine. On Sunday, an independent monitoring panel examined 95 infections that were recorded after the volunteers’ second dose, and discovered that all but five of the illnesses occurred in the participants who received the placebo.
The study is ongoing, and Modern has acknowledged that the rate of protection may change as more COVID-19 infections are discovered. Also, it is too early to know how long the protection will last. Both cautions apply to the Pfizer vaccine as well.
But our independent Moderna monitors reported some additional and promising anecdotes: All 11 severe COVID-19 cases were among the recipients of a placebo, and there were no major safety concerns. The main side effects were fatigue, muscle aches, and pain at the injection site after the second dose.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts vaccine company is among 11 final-stage testing candidates around the world, four of them in massive studies in the U.S.
Both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech candidate shots are called mRNA vaccines, and it’s a completely new technology. It is not made from the Corona virus itself, which means that there is no chance anyone could catch it from the shots. Instead, the vaccine contains a piece of genetic code that trains the immune system to recognize the spiky protein on the surface of the virus.
Another acute challenge: dispense the doses that have to be kept very cold. Both Moderna and Pfizer shots are frozen but at different temperatures. Moderna said that once the ice is thawed, its doses can last in the refrigerator for longer than initially thought, up to 30 days. Pfizer shots require long-term storage in extremely cold temperatures.
Pfizer CEO Albert Burla tweeted that he was pleased with the news of Moderna, saying, “Our companies share a common goal – to overcome this dreadful disease.”
The Associated Press’s Department of Health and Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Division of Science Education. AP is solely responsible for all content.