It is now Moderna Inc. which has brought some good news on COVID-19 vaccine as the pharma giant says its vaccine candidate was 94.5% effective as found in a preliminary analysis of a large late-stage clinical trial.
It is a very encouraging sign that expediting efforts by scientists and pharmaceutical companies are paying off with potent new tools that could help assuage a global pandemic.
The news comes closely on the heels of a similar announcement by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE as the shot developed by it was found to be more than 90% effective in an interim analysis.
Both vaccines rely on a technology called messenger RNA that has never been used to build an approved vaccine. It will be a huge respite as very soon, millions of people around the world could be saved from illness by the breakthroughs.
Moderna shares witness a huge uptick
Soon after the news broke, Moderna shares rose as much as 15% in New York. The rally in global shares following the news represented about $567 billion in market value added to the MSCI All Country World Index.
In a statement released by Moderna says that a first analysis of data from more than 30,000 volunteers showed its vaccine prevented virtually all symptomatic cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
A statement released by Moderna said that only five participants who received two doses of the vaccine became sick, compared with 90 coronavirus cases in participants who received a placebo. It was revealed by a review by an independent data safety monitoring board appointed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
The vaccine also showed promise appearing to be effective in preventing the most serious Covid-19 infections. No severe cases were reported among those people who got the vaccine when compared with 11 in volunteers who received placebo shots.
The findings came at a time when the pandemic’s grip is tightening. The US moved past 11 million COVID cases on Sunday as Florida reported the most new infections since July and new cases in California hit a three-month high. Deaths and hospitalizations are also rising. Cases also soared in Europe as much of the world braces for what is expected to be a dire winter.
The results may be preliminary, but both Moderna and Pfizer are expected to seek emergency-use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration if further study shows their vaccines are safe. Moderna, in a statement, said it could seek a go-ahead from regulators in the coming weeks.
“The results of this trial are truly striking,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on a conference call with reporters. The efficacy against severe disease “is really quite impressive.”