Drug manufacturer Moderna’s vaccine against the coronavirus has proven to be 94.5% effective against the virus during its phase three trials, the company said in a statement on Monday.
“First interim analysis included 95 participants with confirmed cases of COVID-19,” the company said. “Phase 3 study met statistical criteria with a vaccine efficacy of 94.5% (p <0.0001).”
The study, known as the COVE study, enrolled over 30,000 participants in the United States and was conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Half of the participants were given two doses of the vaccine after an interval of four weeks. The remaining were given placebos. The analysis was on the basis of the first 95 to develop symptoms of the coronavirus.
Only five of the Covid-19 positive cases were given the vaccine, 90 received the placebo treatment. The study also showed there were 11 severe cases of infection in the trial, but none of them were among those immunised.
“The overall effectiveness has been remarkable... it’s a great day,” Chief Medical Officer at Moderna Tal Zaks told BBC.
However, it is still unclear how long immunity to the infection will last as the participants will need to be monitored longer. There has also been no data on the efficacy of the vaccine on older age groups, who are the most vulnerable, according to BBC. Zaks said that their data suggested that the vaccine “does not appear to lose its potency” with age.
The company said it now plans to apply to the Food and Drug Administration, the United States drug regulator, for emergency-use authorisation. This will be done in the next few weeks, according to The Guardian.
Last week, Pfizer and German biotechnology company BioNTech announced that their coronavirus vaccine was more than 90% effective in phase-3 clinical trials.
India has not yet signed a deal for a coronavirus vaccine so it is unclear when it will be available for use in the country, despite some leaders promising it will be available from as early as January. Availability of the vaccine in India will be subject to approval by domestic regulators, and the Indian government agreeing to purchase them. So far, many other nations including the United States, United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia and Israel have made deals to buy millions of doses of the vaccines.
On November 11, All India Institute of Medical Sciences Director Randeep Guleria said it will be a challenge for countries like India to store and supply American pharmaceutical firm Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, which needs to kept at minus 70 degree Celsius.