On the heels of Pfizer’s announcement that its COVID-19 vaccine is 90% effective in preventing the virus from causing illness, Moderna says it will soon have results of its own effectiveness study. The late-stage study will hopefully show whether Moderna’s vaccine is safe and effective.
A representative from Moderna, which is working with the National Institutes of Health, said that the public can expect the data from the independent safety monitoring board which is overseeing the study, in “days, not weeks.” Those results will need to be analyzed, and it is not clear how long that will take.
Top US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told the Financial Times that the data from Moderna can be expected to be released during the “next few days to a week.” He also said he expected a “similar degree of efficacy” as Pfizer’s vaccine.
As in other trials by vaccine developers, the company at first decided to do its first analysis of the vaccine’s success rate when 53 of the total of 30,000 people in the trial contracted the coronavirus. But because there has been a “significant increase” in the number of cases during the past week in the places where the subjects of the study live, the company expects that the first release of data will include “substantially more” that just 53 infections.
Efficacy will be examined by comparing the number of cases among the subjects who received the vaccine to those that received a placebo, an injection with nothing buy salt water. The more infections seen among the placebo group compared to the vaccinated group will determine the efficacy of the vaccine.
If Moderna sees positive results, then they will most likely follow Pfizer’s lead and apply for emergency authorization to produce and distribute large amounts of vaccine, by the end of November or early December.
The company has said it can have close to 20 million does ready by the end of 2020, and between half a billion and one billion doses globally in 2021. The US government has already purchased 100 million vaccine doses for approximately $1.5 billion.