Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine is strongly effective, early look at data show

Moderna says COVID-19 vaccine 94.5 percent effective

Together with Pfizer's vaccine, also shown to be more than 90 percent effective, and pending more safety data and regulatory review, the US could have two vaccines authorized for emergency use in December, with as many as 60 million doses of vaccine available by the year's end.

The EU has been in talks with Moderna for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine since at least July.

The interim analysis was based on 95 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which only five were found in the active vaccine group.

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine was the very first to begin Phase 1 human trials back in mid-March. Of particular note is a secondary endpoint tracking severe COVID-19 cases.

But he added: "This is no time for complacency". It is often the case that a vaccine performs less well in the real world than it does in the setting of a clinical trial, experts warn. He urged Americans not to let their guard down and to continue washing hands and being vigilant about social distancing. That can only be determined over time as large numbers of people are vaccinated.

Moderna says that it will be submitting for an Emergency Use Authorization of its vaccine candidate based on the results within the coming weeks, looking to get approval from the FDA to use it in emergency circumstances ahead of a full and final approval.

The company's shares, which have more than quadrupled this year, jumped 8 per cent, while European and USA stocks rose. Two days after Pfizer's announcement, Russian Federation said its own vaccine Sputnik-V was 92 percent effective based on 20 infections in its large trial.

mRNA vaccines are completely different to traditional vaccines, which often administer a weakened form of the virus to help train the immune system to recognize it. Expectations for these vaccines had not run quite so high, with many experts cautioning that the shots might offer modest protection along the lines of what is seen with influenza vaccines. This will make distribution challenging in the best of conditions, but Moderna has revealed its vaccine can be safely stored in common refrigerator temperatures.

The Moderna results are drawn from a clinical trial conducted in the USA involving 30,000 participants. The company reports 11 severe cases were detected in the trial, however, all were in the placebo group.

Moderna is working with contract manufacturers to boost production so it can make 500 million to one billion doses next year. "So it could start being distributed instantly".

Moderna said the 95 Covid-19 cases included 15 people ages 65 years and older, and 20 people from diverse communities such as Hispanic or Latinx and Black people.

The trials were created to measure whether the vaccines stop people from getting sick rather than whether they prevent transmission, which remains to be tested.

Most side effects were mild to moderate. A significant proportion of volunteers, however, experienced more severe aches and pains after taking the second dose, including about 10 per cent who had fatigue severe enough to interfere with daily activities while another 9 per cent had severe body aches. These events were "generally short-lived", the company said. Its U.S. contract has an option for 400 million doses in addition to the initial 100 million.

The Trump Administration has mainly relied on the development of vaccines and treatments as its response to the pandemic.

Moderna, which went public in 2018, has received almost $1bn in research and development funding from the USA government and has a deal worth $1.5bn to supply 100 million doses. Moderna said it could have 1 billion available next year.

Earlier on Monday, infectious diseases specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said he thought it was likely there would be some form of vaccination effort underway in Canada by "February or March" of 2021.

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