Moderna Data Shows That COVID-19 Vaccine is 94.5% Effective

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The drug company Moderna announced on Monday that it is well on its way to producing a fully-effective COVID-19 vaccine, with its current model at 94.5 percent effective.

Moderna is the second drugmaker to report results on a coronavirus vaccine. A week ago, the company’s competitor, Pfizer Inc. announced that its vaccine was showing similar results. However, the vaccine is still months away from being distributed to the public.

The new findings offer a ray of hope in the U.S., where virus cases reached 11 million over the weekend, with 1 million recorded in the past week alone. Since its start, the pandemic has killed over 1.3 million people worldwide, with over 245,000 deaths in the U.S.

Moderna’s president, Dr. Stepehen Hoge, told AP that “It won’t be Moderna alone that solves this problem. It’s going to require many vaccines” to meet the global demand.

Moderna stocks hit an all-time-high following the announcement, and the Dow reported a jump of 500 points before the opening bell, AP reports. Markets in Asia and Europe also jumped sharply.

Aside from Pfizer and Moderna, 10 other companies are conducting Phase 3 trials in a global competition to produce a vaccine. This includes companies in Australia, Britain, China, India and Russia. Over 50 other candidates are reporting early testing.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, COVID-19 vaccines need to be at least 50 percent effective to be approved. If U.S. regulators allow emergency use of a vaccine, there could be limited supplies before the end of the year. Both Moderna and Pfizer’s require people to get two shots, several weeks apart. Moderna expects to have around 20 million doses for the U.S. by year’s end, while Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech expect to have 50 million doses globally.

In Moderna’s study, created with the National Institutes of Health, 30,000 volunteers received either the real vaccine or a placebo injection. Among them, 95 contracted COVID-19: five who received the vaccine, and 90 who received the placebo. Of the 95 cases, 11 were severe, all of which were in the placebo group.

As for side-effcects, the main findings were fatigue, muscle aches and injection-site pain after the vaccine’s second dose. Dr. Hoge characterized the rates of these side-effects as more common than with flu shots but similar to others such as the singles vaccine.

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