A participant in Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial will be admitted to the Accel Research Sites in DeLand, Florida on Aug. 4. Paul Hennessy / NurPhoto / Getty Images
Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine prevents infections by 94.5%, according to early data released Monday by the American biotech company.
The results follow an announcement by US pharmaceutical company Pfizer last week that its vaccine candidate was 90% effective.
It’s as good as it gets – 94.5% is really great, “said Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s premier infectious disease expert, on Moderna News.
The initial results showed that the vaccine protected people from mild and severe forms of Covid-19, according to the company.
In Moderna’s study, 15,000 subjects were given a placebo, which is a shot of saline that has no effect. Over several months, 90 of these people developed Covid-19.
Another 15,000 participants received the vaccine and five of them developed Covid-19.
Among those who received a placebo, 11 became seriously ill, but none of the participants who received the vaccine became seriously ill.
The company said its vaccine didn’t have any significant side effects. A small percentage of those who received it had symptoms such as body aches and headaches.
Moderna plans to apply to the US Food and Drug Administration for approval of its vaccine once more safety data is available later this month.
Fauci said he expected the first vaccinations to begin “in late December, not early December”.
How Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccine candidates compare: Moderna’s vaccine has several practical advantages over Pfizer’s. Moderna’s vaccine can be stored in a freezer, usually available at doctor’s offices and pharmacies, and then kept in the refrigerator for 30 days. Pfizer’s vaccine has to be kept much colder, and there aren’t such low freezers in doctors’ offices and pharmacies. It can then only stay in the refrigerator for five days.