Moderna's Covid-19 Vaccine Is 94.5% Effective in Early Results, Firm Says

Darnell Taylor
November 17, 2020

The results showed that 90 people in the placebo group and five in the vaccine group fell ill with COVID-19, which indicated an effectiveness rate of 94.5 percent, according to a company press release.

News from USA drug company Moderna Inc. that its potential COVID-19 vaccine candidate has also been more than 90 per cent effective in clinical trials sent stock markets soaring on Monday, boosting hopes that the global economy may soon fully convalesce and things could get back to normal. Eleven of the 95 cases were of severe infection, and all of them were in the placebo group.

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. Both the Moderna and Pfizer shots are frozen, but at different temperatures.

Epidemiologist Dr. Abdu Sharkawy said the news about vaccine trials should be treated for what it is, a light at the end of the tunnel and not an excuse to eschew public health measures. In the early look, the company said no significant safety concerns were reported, and the vaccine was generally well tolerated, with injection-site pain for some people after the first dose, and fatigue, headache and joint pain after the second.

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

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Investigations continue to identify the epidemiological link between Case A and Case D, who have the same genome sequence. Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins will join the Prime Minister at the post-Cabinet press conference at 4pm.

The next phase would cover 10% of the population and include people with health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe Covid-19 disease or death, and people age 65 and older who live in settings such as nursing homes, long-term care facilities, homeless shelters and prisons.

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine was the very first to begin Phase 1 human trials back in mid-March.

mRNA vaccines are completely different to traditional vaccines, which often administer a weakened form of the virus to help train the immune system to recognize it. Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID, suggests these early vaccine results are deeply encouraging and much higher than he expected.

"I had been saying I would be satisfied with a 75 percent effective vaccine", Fauci said in a recent interview. "So what we need next is a spike protein-based vaccine on another platform that is equally good... Covid-19 vaccines will face the largest and fastest vaccine manufacturing scale-up and roll-out in history but the light at the end of the tunnel is looking brighter". The poll found around half of those surveyed would either definitely, or probably, not take a COVID-19 vaccine if it were available today.

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