Moderna Inc. says its experimental vaccine is 94.5% effective in protecting people from Covid-19. The claims are based on interim data from a late-stage clinical trial. Moderna is the second US company to announce a Covid-19 vaccine this week, following in the footsteps of Pfizer, whose own vaccine boasts a 90% efficacy rate.
The Moderna announcement means that there could be at least two vaccines authorized for emergency use in the United States in December.As many as 60 million doses could be available by the end of 2020.
Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines are both built using new technology known as messenger RNA or mRNA. Both represent powerful new ways to combat the ongoing pandemic, which has to date infected 54 million people and killed 1.3 million. Both vaccines also come at a time when Covid-19 cases appear to be surging – especially in the US where new cases of the virus are now totaling more than one hundred thousand per day.
Unlike Pfizer’s vaccine, Moderna’s does not need to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, making it easier to distribute. This is particularly good news for countries like India with hot climates that would struggle to keep Pfizer’s vaccine at the required -70°C.
Speaking about the firm's vaccine, Moderna President Stephen Hoge said: “Assuming we get an emergency use authorization, we'll be ready to ship through Warp Speed almost in hours. So it could start being distributed instantly.”