US drug company Moderna has released data showing its COVID-19 vaccine is 94.5 per cent effective, making it a new frontrunner in the race to find a vaccine.
The vaccine is the second to make it past phase three study following Pfizer’s candidate which recorded a 90 per cent efficacy, 4.5 per cent lower than that recorded by Moderna.
A vaccines efficacy is a measure of its ability to stop or at least reduce the level of severity of COVID-19, rather than how well the vaccine prevents the virus from entering the body.
According to a statement from Moderna, the findings were based on 95 infections among trial participants who either received the vaccine, mRNA-1273, or a placebo. Only five of the participants developed the disease.
The company said it intends to apply for an Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) once it has received the final safety and efficacy data, which it estimates could be two months.
By the end of 2020, Moderna expects to have approximately 20 million doses of mRNA-1273 ready to ship in the US and said it remains on track to manufacture 500 million to 1 billion doses globally in 2021.
According to ABC News, Australia could get the vaccine through the COVAX facility, which is a group of 118 countries allowing members better accessibility to COVID-19 ‘tools’. The Moderna vaccine is one of 10 candidates the facility is considering.
Last week, Pfizer and BioNTech SE announced their vaccine candidate, BNT162b2, was found to be more than 90 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants without evidence of prior infection.
The vaccine is one of four that the Australian government has signed on to purchase if it works, with Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt predicting a vaccine will be available to Aussies within 2021.
But don’t go rolling up your sleeves just yet, as both vaccines still need to go through more safety checks and regulatory reviews before they can be made available to the public.
Featured image source: iStock/Meyer & Meyer