A new vaccine that protects against COVID-19 is almost 95% effective, early data from US company Moderna shows.
The results come not long after Pfizer released theirs adding to growing confidence that vaccines can help end the pandemic.
Both companies used a highly innovative and experimental approach to designing their vaccines.
Moderna says it is a “great day” and they plan to apply for approval to use the vaccine in the next few weeks.
However, this is still early data and key questions remain unanswered.
The trial involved 30,000 people in the US with half being given two doses of the vaccine, four weeks apart. The rest had dummy injections.
The analysis was based on the first 95 to develop COVID-19 symptoms.
Only five of the COVID-19 cases were in people given the vaccine, 90 were in those given the dummy treatment. The company says the vaccine is protecting 94.5%.
It is unknown how long immunity will last as volunteers will have to be followed for much longer before that can be answered.
There is also no data on how well it works in older age groups, who are most at risk of dying from COVID-19. No significant safety concerns have been reported, but nothing, including paracetamol, is 100% safe. Short-lived fatigue, headache and pain were reported after the injection in some patients.
Pfizer VS Moderna
Both vaccines use the same approach of injecting part of the virus’s genetic code in order to induce an immune response.
The preliminary data we have seen so far is very similar – around 90% protection for the Pfizer vaccine and around 95% for Moderna’s.
However, both trials are still taking place and the final numbers could change.
Moderna’s vaccine appears to be easier to store as it remains stable at minus 20C for up to six months and can be kept in a standard fridge for up to a month. However, Pfizer’s vaccine needs ultra-cold storage at around minus 75C, but it can be kept in the fridge for five days.