The US-based firm Moderna Inc. has said it would ask American and European regulators to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine as new study results confirm the shots offer strong protection against the corona virus infection.
On Monday, the company said in a statement that “Vaccine efficacy against COVID-19 was 94.1%; vaccine efficacy against severe infection was 100%.”
Moderna said the shots’ effectiveness and a good safety record so far with only temporary, flu-like side effects mean they meet requirements set by the US Food and Drug Administration for emergency use before the final-stage testing is complete. The European Medicine Agency, Europe’s version of FDA, has signalled it also is open to faster, emergency clearance.
Since first emerging nearly a year ago in China, the virus has killed more than 1.4 million people worldwide. Moderna is just behind Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech in seeking to begin vaccinations in the US in December. Across the Atlantic, British regulators also are assessing the Pfizer shot and another from AstraZeneca.
The company has created its shots with the US National Institutes of Health and; already had a hint they were working on but said it got the final needed results; over the weekend that suggest the vaccine is more than 94% effective.
Of 196 COVID-19 cases so far in its huge US study, 185 were trial participants who received the placebo and 11 who got severely ill were 30 participants, including one who died had received dummy shots, said Dr. Tal Zaks, the Cambridge, Massachusetts, company’s chief medical officer.
Zakis told The Associated Press that “When we learned the results, I allow myself to cry for the first time. We have already, just in the trial, have already saved lives. Just imagine the impact then multiplied to the people who can get this vaccine.”