According to American biotechnology company Moderna, a usable Covid-19 vaccine may be coming our way soon! Last week, the company announced that early analysis from a Phase 3 trial shows the vaccine they’ve been developing is 94.5% effective at preventing the illness.
This is big news. The last vaccine announced was from Pfizer, who noted that, at this point, their vaccine was only about 90% effective. While that’s still high, the new Moderna news reveals that scientists and doctors are getting ever-closer to a vaccine that is as effective as possible.
Moderna’s analysis was based on a group of 95 study participants who contracted coronavirus after receiving a vaccine or a placebo. Of those 95 participants, only five caught the disease after receiving the vaccine. And while it may not have protected all participants in the study, the vaccine analysis does show another promising aspect: the stop of severe symptoms. 11 severe cases of Covid were reported by the participants who received the placebo, while no serious cases were reported in those who received the vaccine.
“Given the importance of severe disease that sometimes leads to hospitalization, and those hospitalizations that sometimes leads to ICU, and in the worst case outcome, death, [it] is a very important impact that we see in our vaccine,” said Stéphane Bancel, chief executive of Moderna, on a press call.
Moderna also noted that its vaccine does not require freezing storage situations — unlike the Pfizer candidate, which has to be stored at -94 degrees Fahrenheit or below. That means that Moderna’s vaccine would be easier to distribute and store for public use.
But of course, a new vaccine trial is just that — a trial. Although it appears to be successful, there’s no way to know exactly how it will work in a system of wide-spread roll-out. You’re more than allowed to be excited, but it’s also important to be realistic about the timing of a vaccine release.
“We should not let the accomplishment of an effective vaccine have us feel we can let our guard down. In fact, it should be an incentive to double down,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, at a briefing. “We ultimately have the synergy between a vaccine and the public health measures, which will get us out of this very difficult situation we’re in.”
Moderna is expected to have roughly 20 million doses of the vaccine available to ship in the U.S. by the end of the year and 500 million to 1 billion doses globally for next year.