THE MODERNA coronavirus vaccine is now 94 per cent effective, new data has revealed.
US pharmaceutical giant Moderna will today apply to US and European regulators for emergency approval of the jab.
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It comes after the UK government announced that it had secured a further two million doses of the Moderna vaccine.
The firm today said that “vaccine efficacy against Covid-19 was 94.1 per cent; vaccine efficacy against severe Covid-19 was 100 percent”, and added that the jab “continues to be generally well tolerated with no serious safety concerns identified to date”.
Earlier this month the UK had failed to place any orders for the jab and ministers were left scrambling to secure doses.
The UK now has access to enough doses of Moderna’s vaccine candidate for around 3.5 million people.
On November 16 Moderna revealed that its jab is 94 per cent effective against the coronavirus.
Trials on more than 30,000 people found that only five given the Moderna jab developed Covid – none with severe symptoms.
In comparison, 90 people given a dummy vaccine fell ill, according to the US biotechnology company.
Moderna today announced that the vaccine is 94.1 per cent effective.
Data released today was based on 196 cases.
The study found that all 30 of the virus cases occurred in the placebo group and none in the vaccinated group.
It added: “There was one Covid-19-related death in the study to date, which occurred in the placebo group.”
It has now concluded the phase 3 trial of the jab after just 16 per cent of disease episodes in the placebo group were considered severe.
The firm said it is planning to request Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as conditional approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The UK regulator the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) said it would be reviewing data on an ongoing basis.
Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna said: “This positive primary analysis confirms the ability of our vaccine to prevent Covid-19 disease with 94.1 per cent efficacy and importantly, the ability to prevent severe Covid-19 disease.
“We believe that our vaccine will provide a new and powerful tool that may change the course of this pandemic and help prevent severe disease, hospitalisations and death.”
Experts have however warned that the results are “uncertain”.
Prof Stephen Evans, Professor of Pharmacoepidemiology, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said that while the best estimate is 94.1 per cent against all Covid-19 disease, the statistical uncertainty means that this could stand closer to 87 per cent.
He said: “This is of course, still a very good efficacy. Similarly, the 100 per cent efficacy against more severe disease is compatible with an efficacy of 90 per cent again, this is very good and is some evidence that severe as well as mild disease is prevented.
“There seems to be no evidence that efficacy is worse at older ages, though with only a total of 33 aged 65 and over, the uncertainty in these results on their own is considerable.
“The results from blood tests examining immunity may give a better idea of whether the vaccine truly is just as efficacious at older ages as at younger ones, but so far this is again encouraging.”
He added that careful follow up studies would be needed.
“The relatively minor adverse reactions, which are greater after a second than a first dose, are not a real concern.
“The absence of unexpected severe reactions in 15,000 approximately, who have received the vaccine is very good news also.
“This means that reactions that occur in more than 1 in 5,000 vaccinated are unlikely to occur.”
He said that rare adverse effects will only be seen after a million or so people have been vaccinated
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“It will be important to both be vigilant for these but also not to attribute coincidental events to being caused by the vaccine”, he said.
The Moderna jab is expected to cost £11.57 ($15.25) per dose, and with two needed per person, it works out slightly cheaper than Pfizer’s at £14.79 ($1950) per dose.
Moderna’s jab was also trialled on those most at risk of severe illness from Covid, including the elderly and ethnic minority groups – offering a boost that the vulnerable will be protected from the deadly bug.
Around 20 million doses have been made available in the US.