Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate has proven to be almost 95% effective, the US company said. This comes not long after pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced that their vaccine candidate is over 90% effective in offering protection against the virus that has caused a global pandemic.
According to Moderna, it is a “great day” and they will be applying for approval of the vaccine in the coming weeks. Moderna also plans to submit applications for authorisations to global regulatory agencies.
The trial for the vaccine involved 30 000 participants from the US, and half of them were given two doses of the vaccine, four weeks apart. The others were given a placebo.
The analysis of the vaccine’s effectiveness is based on the first 95 participants to develop symptoms of COVID-19. Only five of those with COVID-19 were given the vaccine – the other 90 received the placebo injection. The company says the vaccine offers 94.5% protection.
According to the data, there were 11 cases of severe COVID-19 during the trial, but none in the participants who were immunised.
“This is a pivotal moment in the development of our COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Since early January, we have chased this virus with the intent to protect as many people around the world as possible. All along, we have known that each day matters. This positive interim analysis from our Phase 3 study has given us the first clinical validation that our vaccine can prevent COVID-19 disease, including severe disease,” said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna.
“The overall effectiveness has been remarkable,” Tal Zaks, the chief medical officer at Moderna, told BBC News. “We still do not know how long immunity will last as volunteers will have to be followed for much longer before that can be answered.”
There is also no data in how well it works in older age groups, who are typically the most vulnerable to becoming fatalities of COVID-19. Zaks, however, maintains that the vaccine does not lose its potency with age.
It is also not yet known whether the vaccine just stops people from becoming ill, or whether it also stops them from spreading the virus.
No significant safety concerns have been reported with the use of the vaccine and it is reportedly 100% safe.
Some patients, however, did report experiencing short-lived fatigue, pain and headaches shortly after being injected with the vaccine.
By the end of 2020, the company expects to have approximately 20-million doses of mRNA-1273 ready to ship in the U.S. It also remains on track to manufacture 500-million to 1-billion doses globally in 2021.