The new vaccine from Moderna, the biotechnology company, is 94.5% effective against coronavirus, according to the company on Monday, making it the second vaccine to look promising enough to hit the market in America. Last week, Pfizer's vaccine was found to be more than 90% effective. "This is a pivotal moment in the development of our COVID-19 vaccine candidate," Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in a statement. "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." Read on to hear when you might get yours, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Dr. Fauci Calls the Result "As Good as it Gets"
Moderna, based in Cambridge, Mass, said it plans to apply for emergency use authorization with the Food and Drug Administration in "the coming weeks." The trial's goal was clear: "The Phase 3 COVE trial is a randomized, 1:1 placebo-controlled study testing mRNA-1273 at the 100 µg dose level in 30,000 participants in the U.S., ages 18 and older. The primary endpoint is the prevention of symptomatic COVID-19 disease. Key secondary endpoints include prevention of severe COVID-19 disease and prevention of infection by SARS-CoV-2."
"These are obviously very exciting results," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease doctor, said, according to CNN. "It's just as good as it gets—94.5% is truly outstanding."
Regarding the timetable, Fauci said of the Pfizer vaccine the following, which could also apply to Moderna: "What will happen is that," after the emergency authorization is approved, "at the end of November, the beginning of December, if that goes through—and again, I don't want to get ahead of the FDA, if they're going to dot all the I's and cross all the T's—but I believe with the impressive nature of the data that that should go through smoothly, that by the time we get into December, we'll be able to have doses available for people who are judged to be at the highest priority to get."
As for logistics, "about getting the supply chain intact with the cold requirements"—the vaccine needs to be shipped at a certain low temperature—"that's all been anticipated and part of Operation Warp Speed, particularly on the general, Gus Perna, the general from the army who has been responsible for making sure this goes smoothly. We anticipate, although they're all logistic challenges that it will be done successfully."
As for who gets these vaccines first, Fauci said: "What we have well-established in this country is that the ultimate decision of the distribution in priority, or it goes with the CDC, their advisory committee on immunization practices, traditionally over the years for other vaccines has been responsible for advising them as to the prioritization of the distribution."
Regular folks with no underlying conditions might have theirs by April.
"This milestone is only possible because of the hard work and sacrifices of so many," said Barcel. "I want to thank the thousands of participants in our Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3 studies, and the staff at our clinical trial sites who have been on the front lines of the fight against the virus. They are an inspiration to us all."
How to Not Die During the Pandemic Until the Vaccine Comes
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place until there's a vaccine available: Wear your face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, stay outdoors more than indoors, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.