A second coronavirus vaccine has been proven to work as US pharmaceutical company Moderna today revealed its jab is 94.5 percent effective.
Early results from the company’s final stage of clinical trials bring another landmark success in the global race to end the pandemic after Pfizer‘s vaccine, which works in the same way, was last week found to be 90 per cent effective.
Moderna’s results show that only five out of 95 people who tested positive in the study had been given the vaccine, compared to 90 who had not. There are around 30,000 people in the study in total, each receiving two doses of the jab or a placebo.
And nobody in the vaccine group got seriously ill with Covid-19, compared to 11 in the placebo group, who were given a fake vaccine to compare against the real one.
The results suggest the vaccine significantly reduces the risk of people testing positive for coronavirus or getting sick with Covid-19.
The US, meanwhile, has already struck a $1.5billion (£1.16bn) deal for 100million doses, while the EU has an ‘unsigned’ deal for 160million doses. Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Qatar and Israel have all also secured deals with Moderna, while the company continues ‘discussions with a number of countries’. It is expected to manufacture 20m doses this year.
The jab is expected to cost $1
5.25 (£11.57) per dose, so $30.50 (£23.14) per person, which is slightly cheaper than the $19.50 (£14.79) per dose charged to the US by Pfizer.
Moderna’s may be cheaper to distribute, however, because it can be kept in a fridge for up to a month and transported in normal freezers at -20°C (-4°F), whereas Pfizer’s must be stored at an ultra-cold -70°C (-94°F) in specialist equipment.
Moderna said it will apply for a licence from the US Food & Drug Administration within weeks, but it is unclear whether it will apply to the UK. British drug regulator, the MHRA, is in the midst of an ongoing review of the vaccine.
The study will continue until 151 people have been infected, and the company admitted the estimate of how effective the jab is might change by the end.
Scientists today hailed the news as ‘tremendously exciting’ and ‘a second dose of very encouraging news’, and it comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock today said the UK is gearing up to start giving out Pfizer’s vaccine from December 1.