Moderna says its vaccine shows strong results against COVID-19

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With Pfizer and Moderna now saying their vaccines showed at least 90 per cent efficacy in large-scale stage three trials, Health Minister Christine Elliott said there is a team working away at how to best distribute vaccines once they arrive.

Overnight Moderna, one of their competitors, announced that they have one that's nearly 95 percent effective.

A vaccine can't come fast enough, as virus cases topped 11 million in the USA over the weekend - 1 million of them recorded in just the last week. The pandemic has killed more than 1.3 million people worldwide, more than 245,000 of them in the U.S.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the high efficacy rate for Moderna's vaccine means it could be an effective tool to help end the pandemic.

Vaccine expert Dr Davinder Gill was emphatic that "If it really came down to a choice between the Pfizer and Moderna candidates for a developing country, then the Moderna candidate would offer a benefit".

Still, if the Food and Drug Administration allows emergency use of Moderna's or Pfizer's candidates, there will be only limited, rationed supplies before the end of the year. Its U.S. contract has an option for 400 million doses in addition to the initial 100 million. On Sunday, an independent monitoring board broke the code to examine 95 infections that were recorded starting two weeks after the volunteers' second dose - and discovered that all but five illnesses occurred in participants who got the placebo.

If greenlighted, the shot could go into distribution that month, making it one of the first Covid-19 vaccines to go into distribution in the US, where reported coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are surging. Also, it's too soon to know how long protection lasts. Both vaccines use a still experimental mRNA technology but experts are suggesting the big challenge ahead will be overcoming the logistical hurdles in carrying out mass vaccinations. The company reports 11 severe cases were detected in the trial, however, all were in the placebo group. Moderna said it plans to ask federal health authorities by early December to clear the vaccine.

On Monday, U.S. -based Moderna Inc. said that interim results from a Phase 3 study of its mRNA-1273 vaccine show that the vaccine is 94.5 per cent effective with no significant safety concerns. They aren't made with the coronavirus itself, meaning that there's no chance anyone could catch it from the shots. The vaccines contains genetic material that prompt the body to create a protein that sits on the exterior of the virus, effectively training the immune system to recognize it as an invader.

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