Moderna follows Pfizer with COVID-19 vaccine

Moderna follows Pfizer with COVID-19 vaccine

From VOA Learning English, this is the Health and Lifestyle Report.

European authorities have hailed the promising trial data announced by USA biotech firm Moderna for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate - the second time in a week that a vaccine developer has announced expectation-exceeding results, following a similar announcement from Pfizer/BioNTech last week.

USA biotech company Moderna announced Monday that its coronavirus vaccine is more than 90 percent effective, according to preliminary results from a late-stage US trial involving more than 30,000 people.

At this point, the company says its results show no major safety concerns.

Moderna intends to submit an application for an Emergency Use Authorisation with the US Food and Drug Administration shortly and will submit further data on the vaccine's effectiveness and safety. The agency requires a vaccine be at least 50 percent effective for emergency use.

"As part of the ongoing work of the Vaccines Taskforce, the government is in advanced discussions with Moderna to ensure UK access to their vaccine as part of the wider UK portfolio", a government spokesperson said - but acknowledged that as Moderna is "currently scaling up [its] European supply chain", "these doses would become available in spring 2021 in the UK at the earliest". It also struck a $1.5 billion deal to support the manufacturing and delivery of doses.

Zaks said final results would be available within several weeks.

Dr. Stephen Hoge is president of the Massachusetts-based Moderna.

The vaccine was generally safe and well tolerated, and the majority of adverse events were mild or moderate in severity, it said.

United States reports record-high daily COVID-19 cases
It comes as 482 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the Republic yesterday, while seven further deaths were also reported . As we head into a new working week, we need stay at home other than for essential reasons and for personal exercise within 5km.

"It won't be Moderna alone that solves this problem. It's going to require many vaccines".

The news comes one week after Pfizer said its coronavirus vaccine was over 90% effective in a preliminary analysis. "So I think this is a really strong step forward to where we want to be about getting control of this outbreak".

The study showed 95 cases of infection among its 30,000 volunteers. Only five of them were in the vaccine arm of the trial, versus 90 in the placebo group.

During the interview, Slaoui also revealed, "From day one, I said, the key for success of this is two things. This positive interim analysis from our Phase 3 study has given us the first clinical validation that our vaccine can prevent COVID-19 disease". A large number of volunteers, however, experienced more severe body aches and pains after receiving the second of the two-shot treatment. While results have been examined by an independent data safety monitoring board, they have yet to be published or peer reviewed.

Both vaccines were built using new technology known as messenger RNA or mRNA.

However, vaccine specialists caution that these numbers are not set in stone - both estimates could increase or decrease as the respective trials continue, and the vaccines may ultimately prove to work better in some groups than in others. Instead, the vaccine contains a piece of genetic code that trains the immune system to recognize the spiked protein on the surface of the virus. This makes it easier to transport. Moderna's one instead has to be stored at a deep freezer temperature (-20 °C/ -4 °F) but can be kept in a regular fridge for up to 6 months. Those conditions prompted Pfizer to make "thermal shippers" that can keep the vaccines stable for 10 days and then stored for 15 additional days if dry ice in the boxes is replenished. That is about the temperature of an Antarctic winter.

However, UK does not have any prior order placed for Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines as yet.

Other countries have already begun vaccinations.

Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Resource Center reports that the coronavirus has infected almost 55 million people around the world. Soon, millions of people around the world could be spared from illness by the breakthroughs. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

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