Moderna has finished accumulating data for a first analysis of its Covid-19 vaccine and expects to have an announcement on the vaccine’s efficacy by the end of the month, according to a company statement.
Pfizer announced Monday that its coronavirus vaccine is more than 90% effective.
How it works: Moderna is conducting a clinical trial of 30,000 participants, with half receiving the vaccine and half receiving a placebo, which is a shot of saline that does nothing.
What they need: For Moderna’s vaccine to be considered for authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration, at least 53 study participants need to become ill with Covid-19. The trial hit that 53 mark Wednesday, but Moderna doesn’t know if the participants who became ill received the vaccine or the placebo.
What happens now: The company is preparing data to send to the trial’s Data and Safety Monitoring Board, an independent panel of experts. That board will look to see how many of the participants who became ill received the vaccine and how many received the placebo. If a statistically significant number received the placebo, that means the vaccine is effective against the virus.
Moderna thinks the board will report their efficacy results before the end of the month. Moderna expects that by the time the announcement is made, more than 53 participants will become ill with Covid-19, since cases are rapidly rising in the US.
Pfizer's interim analysis looked at the first 94 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among more than 43,000 volunteers who got either two doses of the vaccine or a placebo. Russia's Sputnik V vaccine interim analysis came after just 20 confirmed Covid-19 cases.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that Moderna’s vaccine could soon follow in Pfizer's footsteps.
“Moderna has an almost identical mRNA,” Fauci told Financial Times correspondent Hannah Kuchler. “We hope we're going to see a similar kind of result from Moderna. If we do, then we'll have two vaccines in play.”
He said he would "really be surprised if we did not see a high degree of efficacy."