Moderna says its COVID-19 vaccine candidate is 94.5% effective

Darnell Taylor
November 16, 2020

USA biotech company Moderna (MRNA), announced on Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate has shown efficacy of 94.5% during the phase 3 trials of 30,000 participants in the US.

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said Monday his company's coronavirus vaccine has demonstrated a "gamechanger" safety record in ongoing studies.

The news echoed a similar announcement exactly one week ago from USA pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which sent investors cheering with word that its vaccine candidate appeared to be more than 90 per cent effective.

A vaccine can't come fast enough, as virus cases topped 11 million in the USA over the weekend - 1 million of them recorded in just the past week - and governors and mayors are ratcheting up restrictions ahead of Thanksgiving.

On Monday morning, their shares suffered marginally in pre-market trading, dipping by a little over 1 percent.

Moderna's vaccine, like Pfizer's, uses a new technology known as messenger RNA.

Moderna said Monday its COVID-19 vaccine is proving highly effective in a major trial, a second ray of hope in the global race for a shot to tame a resurgent virus that is now killing more than 8,000 people a day worldwide.

Moderna's announcement comes as welcome news to the USA, where COVID-19 is now spreading at a rate unseen since the pandemic first hit.

A sign marks the headquarters of Moderna Therapeutics, which is developing a vaccine against the coronavirus disease, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, May 18, 2020.

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Some of the other companies listed , including China Telecom and China Mobile , trade on the New York Stock Exchange, it said. In 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping sent congratulations to Trump on November 9, a day after the election.

A key advantage of Moderna's vaccine is that it does not need ultra-cold storage like Pfizer's, making it easier to distribute.

An effective inoculation against COVID-19 has been billed as the best way to end the global health crisis, but Professor Ugur Sahin, the co-founder of BioNTech, has cautioned against assuming the pandemic is behind us.

"Assuming we get an emergency use authorization, we'll be ready to ship through Warp Speed nearly in hours", Hoge said.

The ability to store the Moderna vaccine in commonly used pharmaceutical freezers and refrigerators "would enable simpler distribution and [provide] more flexibility to facilitate wider-scale vaccination in the United States and other parts of the world", said Juan Andres, chief of technical operations at Moderna. The contract gives the USA government an option to purchase an additional 400 million doses.

The 95 cases included 15 adults aged 65 or over, and 20 participants from diverse communities including 12 people who identified as Hispanic, 4 Black Americans, 3 Asian Americans and 1 person who was multiracial. The same can not be said about the placebo group, however. One unknown with this vaccine, and all the others now being tested, is whether they will stop Covid-19 spreading.

"More encouraging news from #COVID19 vaccine trials w/@moderna", European Union health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said on Twitter.

"This enables managers to now more broadly expose their portfolios to new pockets of growth", said Thomas Hayes, managing member at Great Hill Capital Llc in NY.

"The maximum effectiveness of the vaccine was observed 7 days after the second dose".

Most side effects were mild to moderate. Moderna also plans to seek authorization in other countries, and has signed supply contracts with several. It said on November 11 that its vaccine was 92% effective based on 20 infections in its large trial.

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