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Moderna Reports Promising Vaccine Findings

Early data from Moderna suggests its candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is highly effective in preventing coronavirus infections, the Washington Post reports.

Moderna developed the mRNA-based candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in conjunction with the US National Institutes of Health and began late-stage testing of it in July. According to the company, the trial has enrolled more than 30,000 people in the US and has now observed 95 COVID-19 cases among its trial participants, data that has been reviewed by an independent data and safety monitoring board. 

That review found that 90 disease cases were among participants who received the placebo and five cases were among participants who received the experimental vaccine, indicating that the candidate vaccine is 94.5 percent effective, the company says. Moderna additionally reports there were 11 severe COVID-19 cases, but that all occurred among individuals who received the placebo.

"It's extremely good news. If you look at the data, the numbers speak for themselves," Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, whose agency was involved in the development of the vaccine, tells the Post.

Still, the Post notes that this is early data and that questions remain regarding how long the vaccine's protection lasts. It adds that Moderna has said it would finish its trial before applying for Emergency Use Authorization, which may take another week or week and a half, as cases rise in the US.

This announcement comes a week after Pfizer and BioNTech reported that their candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, also an mRNA-based vaccine, appeared highly effective in their initial analyses. This, the Post says, suggests a possible scenario in which multiple SARS-CoV-2 vaccines could start to become available next year.