A Second Promising COVID-19 Vaccine Shows A 90%+ Effectiveness Rate

Pharmaceutical company Moderna announced that its vaccine candidate showed a 94.5% efficiency rate in trials just one week after Pfizer announced the preliminary findings of its vaccine.

A syringe for a participant in the Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial sponsored by Moderna on August 4, 2020 in DeLand, Florida | Getty Images
A syringe for a participant in the Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial sponsored by Moderna on August 4, 2020 in DeLand, Florida | Getty Images

Pharmaceutical giant Moderna announced on Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate had proven to be 94.5% effective against the virus in Phase 3 trials. The company’s announcement came just one week after Pfizer announced promising findings in its own vaccine candidate.

Moderna said more than 30,000 people in the U.S. participated in its vaccine trials. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) developed the vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, in collaboration with Moderna.

The preliminary findings from the Phase 3 trials showed a 94.5% efficiency rate, researchers said. The vaccine will still need to be peer-reviewed.

Last week, Pfizer announced its own vaccine candidate showed a 90% efficiency rate, reporting that out of 43,538 vaccine trial volunteers, 94 were infected with COVID-19 after receiving the two-dose vaccine or placebo.

In the Moderna study, 95 people contracted COVID-19, and the company said that the 11 participants with “severe” cases of the virus had received the placebo.

Moderna also said that it will submit the vaccine candidate for emergency use authorization (EUA) with the Food and Drug Administration in the coming weeks. The FDA has established a rigorous protocol for approving potential COVID-19 vaccines, including an efficiency rate of at least 50% in the Phase 3 trial.

“This is a pivotal moment in the development of our COVID-19 vaccine candidate,” Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a statement. “This positive interim analysis from our Phase 3 study has given us the first clinical validation that our vaccine can prevent COVID-19 disease, including severe disease.”

Participants in the study represented a wide-range of racial backgrounds and ages, and researchers said that the Phase 3 study “did not report any significant safety concerns.”

If the vaccine gets authorization, Moderna anticipates having more than 20 million doses of mRNA-1273 available for distribution across the U.S. by the end of 2020. The company also said it “remains on track to manufacture 500 million to 1 billion doses globally in 2021.”

Last week, infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted that a COVID-19 vaccine could be widely available by April of 2021. He said in an interview with CNN that the vaccine will likely first be distributed to high-priority groups, including medical workers, people with underlying conditions, and older people.

While the vaccine news is promising, Fauci said that people need to remain vigilant in preventing the virus from spreading by continuing to wear masks, stay six feet apart from non-household members, and avoid gathering in large groups.

In recent weeks, the coronavirus has increased significantly in the U.S. and has broken records for daily new cases. According to Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. has reported more than 11 million cases of COVID-19, including at least 246,000 deaths.