Moderna shared early findings that show its experimental coronavirus vaccine was 94.5% effective at preventing COVID-19.
In a study of 30,000 people, 95 developed symptomatic COVID-19 infections. Of the 95, 90 had received a placebo and the remaining 5 had received Moderna’s vaccine candidate. These findings indicate that the vaccine is effective at preventing disease that causes symptoms, including severe cases. The company also reported that there were no significant safety concerns in vaccine recipients, with injection site pain after the first dose, and fatigue, headache, and joint pain after the second dose.
Anthony Fauci, MD, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, “these are very impressive and very encouraging and exciting results.”
“I think the high efficacy and data on severe cases mean that these RNA vaccines should markedly reduce the burden of hospitalization from COVID-19,” said Larry Corey, MD, a vaccine specialist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, and head of a network of clinical trial researchers who helped test the vaccine.
The trial is ongoing and more comprehensive safety data is expected in late November, once the FDA’s recommended 2 months of follow-up have been reached. Outstanding questions include whether the vaccine is effective in high-risk groups such as the elderly and whether it protects against asymptomatic infections. Moderna plans to apply for emergency use authorization by early December.