Moderna says COVID-19 vaccine 94.5 percent effective

Moderna says COVID-19 vaccine 94.5 percent effective

A second vaccine-maker has announced that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate is performing well in a large-scale clinical trial - further evidence that the battle against the global pandemic is entering a new phase.

Last week, the drugmaker said early data from its vaccine trial showed that it is more than 90 percent effective against the coronavirus.

The government has scrambled to secure the vaccine, with Matt Hancock announcing this afternoon that the United Kingdom has signed an "initial agreement" to purchase five million doses, but only from April.

Covid-19 vaccines developed in China and Russian Federation have already been administered, though they haven't finished the final stage of testing.

But Moderna's independent monitors reported some additional promising tidbits: All 11 severe COVID-19 cases among its volunteers were placebo recipients, and there were no significant safety concerns.

The Moderna vaccine was developed with assistance from the USA government's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

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The biotech company says that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate has shown efficacy of 94.5% in its first interim data analysis, which covers 95 confirmed COVID cases among its study participants, of which 90 were given the placebo, and only 5 received Moderna's mRNA-based vaccine.

Moderna said the 95 Covid-19 cases included 15 people ages 65 years and older, and 20 people from diverse communities such as Hispanic or Latinx and Black people. The Liberal government has allocated $1 billion towards vaccine procurement and to-date has secured access to as many as 414 million doses of vaccine candidates from a number of drugmakers including Pfizer and Moderna. Technically, the authorization would be for emergency use, rather than a standard approval. Both vaccines use a still experimental mRNA technology but experts are suggesting the big challenge ahead will be overcoming the logistical hurdles in carrying out mass vaccinations.

This was because, he said, "What you have to also remember is the scale - if we're looking at vaccinating even 50 per cent of India's population against Covid-19 with a vaccine like this, the available infrastructure to store polio vaccines will not be enough".

"The problem", Dr Kang said, "will be cost, because Moderna has said that their vaccine will cost $37 (more than Rs 2,750), which is a lot".

Moderna is working with contract manufacturers to boost production so it can make 500 million to one billion doses next year.

Federal health officials cautioned Monday that despite the positive data for the vaccines, the limited initial supply also means that Americans should continue to take precautions against the coronavirus, such as wearing masks and washing hands.

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