The global Covid-19 vaccine race received a major boost as the US biotech firm Moderna Inc. revealed impressive early trial results, days after similar results released by Pfizer. Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), appointed by NIH for the Phase 3 trials, reportedly informed the company that the trial has met the statistical criteria, with a vaccine efficacy of 94.5 per cent.
“Preliminary analysis suggests a broadly consistent safety and efficacy profile across all evaluated subgroups,” the biotech firm said in a statement.
Moderna said that it intends to submit for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the coming weeks. The company added that it also plans to submit applications for authorizations to global regulatory agencies. It uses the same messenger RNA technology as the Pfizer vaccine candidate.
According to the preliminary data, Moderna’s vaccine has shown a slightly better efficacy rate as compared to the vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTech SE, which was found to be more than 90 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants. However, the final numbers could change since the trials are still underway.
Moderna’s vaccine, mRNA-1273, appears to be easier to store as it is expected to remain stable at standard refrigerated conditions of 2°C to 8°C for up to 30 days within the 6-month shelf life. It allows for storage at most pharmacies, hospitals, or physicians’ offices. The vaccine can be kept at room temperature conditions for up to 12 hours once it is removed from the refrigerator for administration. On the other hand, Pfizer’s vaccine candidate needs ultra-cold storage at around minus 75°C and can be kept in the fridge for five days.
“The ability to store our vaccine for up to 6 months at -20° C including up to 30 days at normal refrigerator conditions after thawing is an important development and would enable simpler distribution and more flexibility to facilitate wider-scale vaccination in the United States and other parts of the world,” Juan Andres, Moderna CTO and Quality Officer, said in a statement.