Moderna Inc. Unveils 94.5% effective COVID -19 Vaccine
Moderna Inc said on Monday that its experimental COVID-19 vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing the deadly coronavirus.
The vaccine, built using new technology messenger mRNA, represents powerful new tools to fight a pandemic that has infected 54 million people worldwide and killed 1.3 million.
“We are going to have a vaccine that can stop COVID-19”, Moderna President Stephen Hoge said on Monday
Moderna’s interim analysis was based on 95 infections among trial participants who received either a placebo or the vaccine. Of those, only five infections occurred in those who received the vaccine, which is administered in two shots 28 days apart.
The data from Moderna’s 30,000 participant-strong trial also showed the vaccine prevented cases of severe COVID-19.
Of the 95 cases in Moderna’s trial, 11 were severe and all 11 occurred among volunteers who got the placebo.
Moderna, part of the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed program, expects to produce around 20 million doses of the vaccine for the United States this year.
The company has already produced millions of the vaccine and is ready to ship if it receives FDA authorisation.
“Assuming we get an emergency use authorisation, we’ll be ready to ship through Warp Speed almost in hours. So it could start being distributed instantly”, Hoge said.
The United States has the world’s highest known number of COVID-19 cases and deaths with more than 11 million infections and nearly 250,000 deaths.
The Trump Administration has primarily relied on development of vaccines and treatments as its response to the pandemic.
Moderna has received nearly $1 billion in research and development funding from the U.S. government and has a $1.5 billion deal for 100 million doses.
The U.S. government also has an option for another 400 million doses.
The company hopes to have between 500 million and 1 billion doses in 2021, split between its U.S. and international manufacturing sites and dependent in part on demand.
The U.S. government has said COVID-19 vaccines will be provided free to Americans, whether they have health insurance, are uninsured or are covered by government health programs such as Medicare.
Moderna also said it will use its data to seek authorization in Europe and other regions.
Other countries such as China and Russia have already begun vaccinations.
Russia licensed its “Sputnik-V” COVID-19 vaccine for domestic use in August before it released data from large-scale trials.
It said on Nov. 11 that its vaccine was 92% effective based on 20 infections in its large trial.