The announcement of the biotech Moderna comes a week after that of the alliance between the American companies Pfizer and German BioNTech on their vaccine effective at 90%.
LUS biotech company Moderna on Monday announced in a statement that its Covid-19 vaccine was 94.5% effective in reducing the risk of contracting the disease, similar to 90% efficiency announced last week by the US-German alliance, Pfizer / BioNTech.
This means that the risk of falling ill with Covid-19 was reduced by 94.5% between the placebo group and the vaccinated group of the large clinical trial underway in the United States, according to the analysis of the very first cases: in l occurrence, 90 participants in the placebo group caught Covid-19, compared to 5 in the vaccinated group.
If this level of effectiveness were the same in the general population, it would be one of the most effective vaccines available, comparable to that against measles, 97% effective in two doses, according to the American Centers for Prevention and Control. disease control (CDC).
By comparison, flu shots have hovered between 19% and 60% effectiveness in the past ten seasons in the United States, according to the CDC.
Pfizer’s vaccine reportedly 90% effective, Russian vaccine Sputnik V 92%, according to preliminary results released last week.
No serious patient with Covid-19 was recorded among those vaccinated, against 11 in the placebo group, according to the Moderna press release.
According to biotech, about 9-10% of people vaccinated have had side effects after the second dose such as fatigue, stiffness, or redness around the injection site.
“Prevent Covid-19 disease”
“This is a pivotal moment in the development of our candidate vaccine against Covid-19”, welcomed the boss of Moderna, Stéphane Bancel. “This positive interim analysis from our phase 3 trial gives us the first clinical indications that our vaccine can prevent Covid-19 disease, including the severe form”.
But these results have not yet been evaluated by independent scientists. More than 30,000 participants are taking part in the large-scale, so-called phase 3 clinical trial that began last July.
Authorization in the coming weeks
Moderna plans to apply for marketing authorization “in the coming weeks” in the United States.
If the vaccine were approved by the US Medicines Agency (FDA), the speed of development would be a scientific feat, less than a year after the virus’s likely release from China.
It took nine years in the 1950s to develop and license the measles vaccine. In the past ten years, the average development time for the 21 vaccines approved by the FDA has been eight years, according to a study in the journal Jama.
After Oxford / AstraZeneca and Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna
In Europe, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has set up a fast-track procedure, which allows it to examine vaccine safety and efficacy data as they become available, even before a formal authorization request is submitted by the manufacturer. Moderna became the third vaccine project on Monday to undergo this “continuous review”, after those of Oxford / AstraZeneca and then of Pfizer/BioNTech beginning of October.
Vaccinations in the European Union could begin “in the first quarter of 2021” in an “optimistic” scenario, the director of the European agency in charge of epidemics told AFP last week.