Early results suggest Moderna's Covid vaccine could be 94pc effective

Henrietta Strickland
November 22, 2020

mRNA-1273 is a novel lipid nanoparticle (LNP)-encapsulated mRNA vaccine encoding for a prefusion stabilized form of the Spike (S) protein. mRNA-1273 is one of 20 "Front Runner" candidates among the more than 300 COVID-19 therapeutics included in GEN's updated "COVID-19 Drug & Vaccine Candidate Tracker".

Moderna's early trials involved 30,000 volunteers, half of who were given a placebo while the other half got the vaccine.

Just a week after Pfizer and BioNTech said their vaccine was over 90% effective, Moderna has published an early analysis of it's trial.

The news echoed a similar announcement exactly one week ago from US pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which sent investors cheering with word that its vaccine candidate appeared to be more than 90 per cent effective.

These are relatively new in terms of human use, and differ from traditional vaccines in that they use messenger RNA to instruct a recipient's cells to generate effective antibodies, without actually exposing them to any virus, whereas more traditional vaccines in general use typically use either small, safe doses of active or inactive virus in order to trigger a patient's immune system to generate their own antibodies. This allows longer shelf life and easier transportation of the vaccine. And at -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees Celsius) it remains viable for up to six months.

Pfizer's vaccine must be shipped and stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius, the sort of temperature typical of an Antarctic winter.

Additionally, Moderna said most adverse events in the COVE study to date were mild or moderate in severity. Most of these complaints were generally short-lived, the company said.

The company plans to submit applications for emergency approval in the U.S. and around the world within weeks, and says it expects to have approximately 20 million doses ready to ship in the USA by the end of the year.

Moderna also plans to seek authorizations from foreign regulatory agencies.

In Moderna's trial, 15,000 study participants were given a placebo, which is a shot of saline that has no effect. "This is a really strong step forward to where we want to be".

The Washington Post adds: "Unlike Pfizer, which invested $2 billion of its own money in researching and developing a vaccine, Moderna is part of Operation Warp Speed, the government initiative created to erase the financial risk of vaccine and therapeutics development by providing upfront funding to companies and helping coordinate the trials".

Faust said half of the people in the new United Kingdom study will be given a placebo vaccine of saline. The US Government has the option to buy an additional 400 million doses.

Ireland is due to receive a share of around 1.6m doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine bound for Europe if it is given the green light.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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