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Moderna says its coronavirus vaccine is 94.5% effective so far

Updated Nov 16th, 2020 1:40PM EST
Image: M.Rode-Foto/Adobe

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  • Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is 94.5% effective according to interim data from Phase 3 trials.
  • 30,000 Americans participated in Moderna’s vaccine study, and of the 95 people that tested positive for COVID-19, 90 of them had taken the placebo.
  • Moderna’s vaccine can be stored in a standard refrigerator for up to 30 days, and the company plans to ship up to 20 million doses in the US by the end of 2020.

Moderna announced in a press release on Monday morning that its coronavirus vaccine candidate is 94.5% effective in preventing infection with COVID-19. Moderna’s Phase 3 study enrolled more than 30,000 participants in the United States, and the interim analysis of the data showed that of 95 confirmed COVID-19 cases among the participants, 90 received the placebo, while just five were injected with the mRNA-1273 vaccine.

Additionally, there was a secondary endpoint in which the company analyzed 11 severe cases among Phase 3 study participants. All eleven of these severe cases occurred among the placebo group, which means that, according to the company’s earliest Phase 3 findings, no one who took the vaccine became severely ill.

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“This is a pivotal moment in the development of our COVID-19 vaccine candidate,” said Stéphane Bancel, Moderna CEO. “Since early January, we have chased this virus with the intent to protect as many people around the world as possible. All along, we have known that each day matters. This positive interim analysis from our Phase 3 study has given us the first clinical validation that our vaccine can prevent COVID-19 disease, including severe disease.”

There is more work to done and more data to be analyzed, but these results are about as encouraging as they could have been, following up on Pfizer’s announcements last week that its vaccine candidate was 90% effective.

One of the significant differences between the two vaccines, which are both of the mRNA variety, is that Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine candidate remains stable between 36° to 46°F and can therefore be stored in a standard home or medical refrigerator for up to 30 days. Meanwhile, Pfizer’s BNT162b2 vaccine needs to be stored at around -94°F, complicating the logistics when it comes to transportation and storage of the doses.

Moderna is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Operation Warp Speed to bring its vaccine to the US. Before the end of 2020, the biotech company plans to have approximately 20 million doses of the vaccine candidate ready to ship in America, with plans to ship 500 million to 1 billion doses around the world in 2021. Moderna plans to seek emergency use authorization from the FDA in “the coming weeks.”

This news comes as the US is experiencing its worst outbreak since the pandemic began in March. Cases have been on the rise since October, and the country is breaking records every day, with over 180,000 Americans testing positive for COVID-19 last Friday. Hospitals around the country are hitting capacity as the number of available ICU beds dries up, and without intervention, the situation is only going to worsen. The fact that the vaccines are this effective is the good news we have been waiting for, but we have to remain vigilant until they are available.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.