Moderna said it is confident it will receive emergency approval for its vaccine from US authorities in December and have 20 million doses available in the country.
US pharmaceutical company Moderna announced on Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine is showing to be 94.5% effective in ongoing clinical trials.
Moderna reported a positive interim analysis from its Phase 3 study, marking the company’s first clinical validation that its vaccine can prevent COVID-19, including severe cases.
The trial involved 30,000 people. Half received two doses of the vaccine, four weeks apart. The other half received “dummy injections.”
Of the first 95 participants to test positive for COVID-19, five had received the vaccine while 90 received a placebo. Eleven severe cases appeared in the latter group.
“The overall effectiveness has been remarkable… it’s a great day,” Tal Zaks, Moderna’s chief medical officer, told BBC.
Moderna expects to receive emergency approval for its vaccine from US authorities in December and have 20 million doses available in the country.
Moncef Slaoui, the Moroccan scientist leading the US COVID-19 vaccine development team, said last week that if Pfizer and Moderna receive authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use, 20 million Americans could be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of December. Up to 80 million could receive the immunization by the end of February 2021.
Moderna is also planning to seek approval in other countries and hopes to have up to one billion doses available for global use next year. The EU entered into ongoing talks in July to secure up to 160 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. The European Commission said on Monday that Moderna’s announcement was encouraging.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease official in the US, called Moderna’s 94.5% effectiveness rate “impressive.”
Referring to Moderna and Pfizer, another US-based COVID-19 vaccine developer that reported 90% effectiveness last week, Fauci said to NBC: “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.”
Both vaccines inject part of the virus’s genetic code in the patient to trigger an immune response. Fauci said recently they are almost identical. Preliminary data shows they also share close effective rates, but final figures could change. Russia also released early data suggesting its Sputnik V vaccine is 92% effective against COVID-19.