US biotech company Moderna said in a statement Monday that its Covid-19 vaccine was 94.5% effective in reducing the risk of contracting the disease, similar to the 90% effectiveness announced by the alliance last week. 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: in this case, 90 participants in the placebo group caught the Covid-19, against 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 is said to be 90% effective, and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine 92%, according to preliminary results released last week.
No serious patient with Covid-19 was recorded among the vaccinated people, against 11 in the placebo group, according to the biotech press release.
According to Moderna, about 9-10% of people vaccinated have had side effects after the second dose such as fatigue, stiffness, or redness around the injection site.
“This is a pivotal moment in the development of our vaccine candidate against Covid-19,” said Moderna boss 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.
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.
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 subject to this “continuous review” on Monday, after those of Oxford / AstraZeneca and then Pfizer / BioNTech in early 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.