We’ve got another promising weapon against the pandemic.
Are you tired of being stuck at home yet? It’d be pretty weird if you weren’t, seeing as how we’ve been in this situation for eight months now. I’ve started naming all of the birds that fly by window. But unfortunately, we simply can’t get back to normal until we have a viable vaccine candidate. Thankfully, progress on a vaccine for COVID-19 seems to be entering its final stages. Recently, pharmacy company Pfizer announced that their current candidate has a 90% efficiency rate against the coronavirus, but as of today, they’ve been trounced by a rival.
Moderna, one of the other major pharmaceutical companies tapped for a vaccine, released their own results for their experimental candidate this morning, and to call them an unprecedented success would be an understatement. Based on the results from a double-blind study with at least 95 test participants confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, Moderna’s vaccine showed an astounding 95% efficiency rate in preventing a coronavirus infection. These results still need to be double-checked by safety and regulatory committees, but assuming there’s no obvious dangers or weird side-effects, then that means the world could have two viable vaccines authorized for emergency use in the very near future. Though, as an added bonus to their corner, Moderna’s vaccine only requires refrigerated storage of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius for a month or -20 degrees Celsius for six months, as opposed to Pfizer’s vaccine which requires -70 degrees Celsius for both storage and transport.
Although preliminary—and we will need to see data published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal—Moderna’s results “are very impressive and very encouraging and exciting results,” per Dr. Fauci.
If all goes well, Moderna’s #vaccine could be authorized by FDA next month!
— Dena Grayson, MD, PhD (@DrDenaGrayson) November 16, 2020
Moderna was one of the companies that signed on with the United States’ “Operation Warp Speed,” which would increase the rate of production and delivery of a vaccine once it’s finished. Moderna is projecting around 20 million doses of the vaccine to be manufactured before the end of the year, a few million of which are already ready and waiting for the green light.
“Assuming we get an emergency use authorization, we’ll be ready to ship through Warp Speed almost in hours,” Moderna President Stephen Hoge told Reuters. “So it could start being distributed instantly.”