Pharmaceutical giant Moderna announced Monday morning that it’s initial testing of a vaccine candidate was far more effective than expected, preventing COVID in 94.5 percent of subjects. The vaccine is pending further review by safety and regulatory authorities. The company says it expects to have enough safety data within the next two weeks, and will file for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) soon after.
“We are going to have a vaccine that can stop COVID-19,” Moderna President Stephen Hoge told reporters.
Pfizer reported its vaccine candidate to be 90 percent effective a week ago, news which shot optimism of a end to the pandemic and its related restrictions on live entertainment and crowds sky-high. Stocks for companies like Live Nation and Eventbrite shot up on the Pfizer news, and could get another boost Monday from Moderna’s announcement.
In the United States, it is possible that both vaccines could be available by December, with millions of patients receiving inoculations before the calendar flips. Between the two companies, the U.S. government could have access to as many as 1 billion doses by the end of 2021, with a population of 330 million.
“This news from Moderna is tremendously exciting and considerably boosts optimism that we will have a choice of good vaccines in the next few months,” says Imperial College London professor of experimental medicine Peter Openshaw. “This latest press release is based on a study of 30,000 U.S. adults, including many high-risk or elderly persons. This gives us confidence that the results are relevant in the people who are most at risk of COVID-19.”
The news comes at a time where COVID cases are skyrocketing across the United States and many local governments are considering ramped-up restrictions to slow the virus spread. In just one month, the 7-day rolling average of new cases has nearly tripled – it stood at 54,730 on October 15 and reached 152,136 Sunday, per statistics tracked at worldometers.info.