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Moderna Inc confirmed on Monday its experimental vaccine was 94.5 percent effective in preventing COVID-19, based on interim data from a late-stage clinical trial. The news comes shortly after Pfizer Inc confirmed their vaccine was 90 percent effective – in a boost in the battle against coronavirus.
Scientists have said the news is positive for other COVID-19 vaccines, with the one for Oxford University and UK pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca due to report in the coming days or weeks.
Moderna plans to submit an application for an emergency use authorisation with the US Food and Drug Administration shortly and will submit further data on the vaccine’s effectiveness and safety.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said the results of the Moderna vaccine trials showed the approach which was being adopted by the major development programmes was proving effective.
He told a Downing Street press conference on Monday: “Pretty much all the vaccines around the world that are in development are coronavirus spike protein as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has done, as the Moderna vaccine has done.”
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Where is Moderna vaccine made?
Moderna is an American company with headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The firm’s final-stage clinical trial is ongoing and includes more than 30,000 people in the US.
Moderna said its available data does not indicate any significant safety concerns.
However, the 94.5 percent efficacy from this analysis could drop as further results from the clinical trial are announced.
Dr Stephen Hoge, president of Moderna, said he “grinned ear to ear” when learning about the potential efficacy of the vaccine.
He told BBC News: “When we got the news from the data and safety monitoring board. I’ll admit I broke character and grinned ear to ear for a minute.
“Because I didn’t expect, I don’t think any of us really hoped that the vaccine would be 94 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, that was really a stunning realisation.”
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He said combined with data suggesting it can stop severe COVID-19, it means “that the vaccine really is a terrific tool for stopping the pandemic and hopefully stopping the worst of the disease that people are facing”.
He added: “When you combine it with the news of last week of Pfizer’s vaccine, you’ve got now two vaccines that are over 90 percent effective.
“It really means I think we have the tools necessary to finally beat this virus back and I think that’s probably the best news of the day for all of us, is that there really are now solutions in our hands and we need to deliver them to the people who can use them.”
Britain has secured five million doses of Moderna’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine.
Mr Hancock confirmed the figure at Monday’s press conference.
He said: “We have today secured an initial agreement for five million doses of the Moderna vaccine.”
Britain has also secured supply deals for a total of 350 million vaccine doses from six different suppliers.
This includes Pfizer Inc, whose vaccine was found to be more than 90 percent effective, and 100 million doses of an AstraZeneca/Oxford candidate expected to report late-stage results in coming weeks.
During Monday’s press conference, Mr Hancock was asked if he regretted not being able to buy more of the Moderna vaccine.
He said Britain expected to have other vaccines sooner.
Mr Hancock said: “The Moderna vaccine doesn’t come on stream until the spring.
“I’m just really pleased that we’ve got those early vaccines that will be available early, and we’ve already got the orders of those in.”
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