As coronavirus cases continue to surge across the country, continuously breaking new daily case count records, there is new hope in the race for a vaccine. Pharmaceutical company Moderna announced Monday that its coronavirus vaccine was 94.5% effective, according to Phase 3 clinical trial results.
Created with the National Institutes of Health, Moderna's vaccine trial included 15,000 study participants who were given a placebo, according to CNN. Of those study participants, 90 contracted COVID-19, with 11 developing severe forms of the disease. An additional 15,000 participants were given the vaccine, with only five having developed COVID-19. Of those who contracted the virus who had received the vaccine, none became severely ill. The company noted that while some of those participants who received the vaccine experienced symptoms such as body aches and headaches, there were no serious side effects.
"This is a pivotal moment in the development of our COVID-19 vaccine candidate," Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna, 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."
The results come just a week after Pfizer announced that initial Phase 3 clinical trial results show its vaccine, being developed in partnership with BioNTech, is more than 90% effective. Dr. Stephen Hoge, Moderna's president, said the joint results mark a "really important milestone" amid the race to create a vaccine and slow the spread of the virus.
"That should give us all hope that actually a vaccine is going to be able to stop this pandemic and hopefully get us back to our lives," Hoge told The Associated Press. "It won't be Moderna alone that solves this problem. It's going to require many vaccines [to meet the global demand]."
Moderna plans to apply to the US Food and Drug Administration for authorization of its vaccine soon after it accumulates more safety data later this month. Pfizer, meanwhile, was expected to put in a request for emergency use authorization, which Dr. Anthony Fauci explained as "an application for full approval," within the next week to week-and-half. When approved, however, the number of vaccines available will be limited, with Moderna expected to have about 20 million doses, earmarked for the U.S., by the end of 2020 and Pfizer with about 50 million doses globally by year's end. Fauci explained that these doses will be "available for people judged to be at the highest priority to get it first," such as the elderly.