Moderna COVID-19 vaccine progress sends stock markets soaring

Daniel Fowler
November 17, 2020

Moderna Inc became the second U.S. pharmaceutical company to release data from a large study of its experimental vaccine, saying it was 94.5 percent effective against COVID-19. Of the 95 cases of COVID-19 that arose two weeks after the second dose of the vaccine was administered, only five were found to have occurred among people who received the vaccine, with the remaining 90 coming from individuals who received a placebo in the randomized trial.

This statement by Moderna came a week after pharmaceutical industry giant Pfizer and German partner BioNtech SE announced that their coronavirus vaccine candidate was 90% effective in preventing coronavirus.

Moderna's vaccine announcement comes as virus cases topped 11 million in the USA over the weekend, with one million recorded in just the past week. The news is arousing considerable excitement, with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla calling this "a first but critical step in our work to deliver a safe and effective vaccine".

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The company expects to have enough safety data on the vaccine from the ongoing large scale late-stage trials by the third week of November before proceeding to apply for emergency use authorization (EUA).

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. "I think realistically both of our platforms validate each other in a very important way because both use MRNA technology", says Moderna Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tal Zaks.

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