Moderna says COVID-19 vaccine 94.5 percent effective

Daniel Fowler
November 17, 2020

This has prompted new concerns for the drug manufacturer, saying the release of certain information could have "unintended consequences" on its COVID-19 vaccine program.

Its first analysis was based on 95 cases of COVID-19, 90 of which received a placebo with 5 receiving the vaccine.

Furthermore, data from the two trials do not indicate how long the protection afforded by the vaccines lasts.

Moderna shares were up 10% to $98 in early Monday trading.

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 USA, where reported coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are surging.

"We may be in a place with a vaccine that has a big impact on the prevention of severe disease", Moderna Chief Executive Stéphane Bancel said in an interview. "That will be an incredible win against this very bad virus". Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID, suggests these early vaccine results are deeply encouraging and much higher than he expected.

The company said it plans to submit data for emergency authorization in the U.S.

Moderna's initial data were reviewed by a committee of independent researchers monitoring the study. While positive vaccine news provides investors with reason to remain upbeat regarding stock market outlook, there is a growing risk of complacency over the short-term.

Last week, Pfizer-BioNTech and the Russian makers of the Sputnik V vaccine announced that their candidates had been found to be over 90 per cent effective in preliminary results of phase 3 human trials.

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"So now we have two vaccines that are really quite effective, so I think this is a really strong step forward to where we want to be about getting control with this outbreak", Fauci said on NBC's "Today" show. Russian Federation said last week its vaccine had 92% efficacy in a large trial. Both the Pfizer and Modern COVID-19 vaccines utilize this mRNA technology. That triggers an immune response created to protect vaccinated people if they are later exposed to the actual virus.

The vaccine was designed with assistance from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' vaccine research center; development of the vaccine has been supported by almost $1 billion in grants from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

In the Phase 3-that is, late-stage-study of its vaccine, people at about 100 US locations were given two doses of the vaccine or a placebo, four weeks apart.

There were 11 severe cases in the placebo group and none among those that got the vaccine.

The Moderna results are drawn from a clinical trial conducted in the USA involving 30,000 participants.

"The problem", Dr Kang said, "will be cost, because Moderna has said that their vaccine will cost $37 (more than Rs 2,750), which is a lot".

Each vaccine will require a subject to receive two doses in order to be effective.

Having identified promising vaccine blueprints, the company formed a partnership in March with American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

The federal government may decide to vaccinate health-care workers and first responders first, followed by other segments of the population in phases until more doses are made next year.

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