According to the first data from the American company Moderna, a new vaccine that protects against COVID-19 is almost 95% effective.
These results come on the heels of Pfizer’s announcement of similar findings, increasing confidence that vaccines can help end the pandemic.
Both companies used an experimental and innovative approach to design their vaccines.
Like Pfizer, Moderna says this is a great day and that they plan to apply for approval to use the vaccine in the next few weeks.
However, the data they refer to are still initial, and key questions remain unanswered.
Moderna’s trial involved 30,000 people from the United States. Half of them received two doses of the vaccine four weeks apart.
The rest received placebo doses.
The company conducted an analysis focusing on the first 95 to develop symptoms of COVID-19.
Of the people who received the vaccine, only five got COVID-19. The rest of the cases corresponded to the group that received the dummy injections.
In conclusion, as explained by the company, the vaccine protects 94.5% of people.
Additionally, the data showed 11 severe COVID-19 cases in the trial, but none occurred in people who were immunized.
Tal Zaks, the chief medical officer at Moderna, said: “The overall effectiveness has been remarkable… it’s a great day.”
Also, the company’s president Dr. Stephen Hoge said he grinned from ear to ear for a minute when the results came in.
“I don’t think any of us really hoped that the vaccine would be 94% effective at preventing Covid-19 disease. That was really a stunning realization.”
Regarding the distribution, Moderna says it will be applied to US regulators in the coming weeks. Besides, it indicated that it hopes to have more than 20 million doses in the country.
By next year, the company plans to have up to 1 billion doses available for use worldwide and seek approval in other countries.
However, it is unknown how long immunity will last, as volunteers have to be followed for some time before getting a response.
There are indications that it offers some protection to the elderly, who are at the highest risk of dying from COVID-19, but complete data is not yet available.
It is also unknown whether the vaccine simply keeps people from getting seriously ill or prevents them from spreading the virus.