Story at a glance
- Leading manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna could have created an even more effective vaccine based on data coming from Israel.
- The study observed more than 700,000 people.
Emerging data from Israel indicates that the vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and BioNTech, as well as Moderna, may be even more effective than previous results from clinical trials suggested.
CNN reports that Israel’s Ministry of Health studied more than 700,000 fully inoculated people — meaning those who received two doses of either vaccine — in the country and saw only 0.04 percent contract a COVID-19 infection.
The results were debriefed to reporters by Sharon Alroy Preis, the head of Israel’s Ministry of Health, on Thursday. Israel has mostly used the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which uses the same messenger RNA technology as Moderna.
The study, conducted in December 2020, observed 715,425 vaccinated individuals with one week of time in between their second dosage.
Just 317 people contracted COVID-19 following their inoculation, and 16 of those people were hospitalized.
The data from Israel used a greater population sample than the Pfizer and Moderna human trials, which gathered information from about 75,000 participants.
While new mutations of COVID-19 are worrying medical experts and public health professionals, the Israel study doesn’t appear to have distinguished between people infected with the original COVID-19 strain and a new variant, such as the South Africa or United Kingdom mutation.
Pfizer has already stated that its vaccine produces an immune response when tested against multiple strains of COVID-19, while Moderna is currently developing a booster vaccine to help bridge the gap between its original vaccine formula and challenges brought about by new COVID-19 variants.
Other drugmakers are making progress with their new vaccine candidates. On Thursday, Novavax released trial data suggesting a 95.6 percent efficacy rate against the original COVID-19 strain, along with a 60 percent rate against the more contagious South African COVID-19 variant.
Johnson & Johnson released phase three trial data Friday for their single-shot vaccine candidates, showcasing a 66 percent efficacy rate overall in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 infections about 28 days after vaccination.
Correction: On Jan. 31 this article was updated to give the correct value of the Novavax vaccine candidate versus the original COVID-19 strain.
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