Story at a glance

  • Moderna Therapeutics reports that its COVID-19 vaccine had a 94.5 percent efficacy rate in placebo-controlled clinical trials.
  • The company used messenger RNA to help the body build immunity against viral particles.

Moderna Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company in the running to develop a vaccine to suppress COVID-19, reported promising clinical results on Monday, touting an efficacy rate of 94.5 percent following phase 3 trials.

This comes just one week after Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their vaccine candidate exhibited 90 percent efficacy results from similar trials, meaning the vaccine was proven to prevent a COVID-19 infection about 90 percent of the time.

The press release stated that Moderna officials received the results from a Data Safety Monitoring Board appointed by the National Institutes of Health after a large-scale study featuring more than 30,000 participants in the U.S. known as the COVE study.


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In these trials, the vaccine, called mRNA-1273, was administered twice to some of the volunteers, while a placebo was given to others. 

When comparing outcomes, researchers saw the placebo group contracted significantly more cases of COVID-19 than the group who received the actual vaccine. 

“This is a pivotal moment in the development of our COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Since early January, we have chased this virus with the intent to protect as many people around the world as possible. All along, we have known that each day matters. 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,” Stéphane Bancel the Chief Executive Officer of Moderna said in prepared comments. 

The company now intends to submit mRNA-1273 for an Emergency Use Authorization permit with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the upcoming weeks. 

The vaccine itself was co-developed by Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and is funded by Operation Warp Speed, the program established by the Trump administration to accelerate the development of a safe COVID-19 vaccine.

A signature of Moderna is its use of messenger RNA (mRNA) in its treatments, a molecule used in reading genetic structures to create proteins. Scientists developed specialized mRNA to help induce an immune response when the body is introduced to the COVID-19 spike protein


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Published on Nov 16, 2020