Moderna Inc’s experimental vaccine is 94.5 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 supported interim data from a late-stage trial, the corporate said on Monday, becoming the second U.S. drugmaker to report results that far exceed expectations.
Quite 1 billion people can be immunized against coronavirus by early next year with shots from the primary two companies to reveal positive results after the newest vaccine was shown to be nearly 95 percent effective in trials.
Along with Pfizer Inc’s vaccine, which is additionally quite 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 this year.
The vaccines, both developed with a replacement technology referred to as mRNA (mRNA), represent powerful tools to fight a virus that has infected 54 million people worldwide and caused 1.3 million deaths.
Moderna’s shot can be kept at normal refrigerator temperatures, unlike Pfizer’s vaccine, which should make it easier to deliver, a vital factor as COVID-19 cases are soaring, reaching new peaks in the United States and moving back into lockdowns in several European countries.
The interim study of Moderna was focused on 95 infections among participants in the trial who obtained the vaccine or a placebo. In volunteers who got the vaccine mRNA-1273, which is given in two shots 28 days apart, only five infections occurred.
The findings are especially exciting since a significant proportion of persons at high risk of extreme Covid-19 were involved in the trial and they seem to have been well covered.
“The vaccine is really the light at the end of the tunnel,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious diseases expert said. He urged Americans not to let their guard down and to continue washing hands and being vigilant about social distancing.
It is not expected that the Moderna vaccine, which is being tested on more than 30,000 volunteers, will be available outside the US until next year.
The biotech industry said it will have 20 million doses available for shipping in the US by the end of 2020 and planned to deliver 500 million to 1 billion doses worldwide next year.
In the next week or so, Moderna expects to have ample safety data required for U.S. authorization and expects to apply for emergency use authorization (EUA) in the coming weeks.
Moderna has agreed to supply 100m doses to the US, with an option to purchase 400m more. Agreements have also been signed by Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Qatar, and Israel, and the European Commission has a ‘potential purchasing agreement’ for doses of 80m-160m.
While cases are considered to be much lower in Africa compared with other continents, the vaccine is still very important. At the moment, no country on the continent has announced whether it will buy the vaccine, but Nigeria has welcomed the recent improvement in the results of the vaccine.