A new Moderna vaccine that was developed in conjunction with Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed is nearly 95 percent effective, according to the company.
“The analysis evaluated 95 confirmed Covid-19 infections among the trial’s 30,000 participants,” CNBC reported. “Moderna, which developed its vaccine in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said 90 cases of Covid-19 were observed in the placebo group versus 5 cases observed in the group that received its two-dose vaccine. That resulted in an estimated vaccine efficacy of 94.5%.”
The news comes after the Trump’s administration’s Operation Warp Speed “awarded Moderna a $1.5 billion contract in August to ramp up manufacturing and deliver 100 million vaccine doses, enough for 50 million people,” NPR reported. “The government has an option to buy up to 400 million more doses.”
Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna, thanked the U.S. federal government for its role in assisting the company, saying that Operation Warp Speed was “instrumental to accelerating our progress to this point.”
“Moderna is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Operation Warp Speed and McKesson, a COVID-19 vaccine distributor contracted by the U.S. government, as well as global stakeholders to be prepared for distribution of mRNA-1273, in the event that it receives an EUA and similar global authorizations,” the company said in a statement. “By the end of 2020, the Company expects to have approximately 20 million doses of mRNA-1273 ready to ship in the U.S. The Company remains on track to manufacture 500 million to 1 billion doses globally in 2021.”
Dow futures exploded by 500 points upon the news of Moderna’s vaccine breakthrough.
Last week, Pfizer announced that it had developed a vaccine that was 90 percent effective at combatting the coronavirus, which originated in China.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb responded to the news by writing on Twitter: “Great day for patients. We may have two highly effective vaccines for Covid if results from the interim Pfizer and Moderna trials are confirmed by the full data sets. The acute phase of the U.S. pandemic will end in 2021. We must work together to get through the next 3 months.”
A report from The New York Times last month said that experts were confident that the pandemic would be over “far sooner” than expected and that the Trump administration’s efforts were “working with remarkable efficiency.”
“Events have moved faster than I thought possible. I have become cautiously optimistic,” New York Times science reporter Donald McNeil Jr. wrote. “Experts are saying, with genuine confidence, that the pandemic in the United States will be over far sooner than they expected, possibly by the middle of next year.”
The report noted that the U.S. was “faring much better than it did during the Spanish influenza,” which cost 675,000 Americans their lives, adding, “the country’s population at the time was 103 million, so that toll is equivalent to 2 million dead today.”
This story has been updated to include additional information.