Moderna Inc. revealed on Monday that it’s currently experimental vaccine is almost 94.5 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 infections. This is based on interim data that has been collected from a late-stage clinical trial, making it the second U.S. company in just a week’s time to report results that have surpassed the expectations of medical experts.
When you couple this with the Pfizer vaccine, which is also shown to be more than 90 percent effective, and pending various reviews and safety information, the U.S. could potentially have two vaccines authorized for emergency use in the month of December with almost 60 million doses of it ready for use by the end of the year.
By next year, we could see the availability of more than one billion doses from just the two vaccine makers, which more than what’s needed to ensure a vaccine is prepared for every citizen in the country.
The vaccines, both built using new technology known as messenger RNA or mRNA, represent powerful new tools to fight a pandemic that has infected 54 million people worldwide and killed 1.3 million. The news also comes at time when COVID-19 cases are soaring, hitting new records in the United States and pushing some European countries back into lockdowns.
“We are going to have a vaccine that can stop COVID-19,” Moderna President Stephen Hoge said in a telephone interview.
Moderna’s interim analysis was based on 95 infections among trial participants who received either a placebo or the vaccine. Of those, only five infections occurred in those who received the vaccine, which is administered in two shots 28 days apart.
A key advantage of Moderna’s vaccine is that it does not need ultra-cold storage like Pfizer’s, making it easier to distribute. Moderna expects it to be stable at standard refrigerator temperatures of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (36 to 48°F) for 30 days and it can be stored for up to 6 months at -20 degrees Celsius.