WASHINGTON (CN) — Touted enthusiastically by the nation’s chief infectious disease specialist Dr. Anthony Fauci, the biotechnology giant Moderna announced on Monday that its vaccine for the novel coronavirus is 94.5% effective.
“These are obviously very exciting results. It’s just as good as it gets — 94.5% is truly outstanding,” Fauci told CNN early this morning.
Moderna, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is the second company in as many weeks to announce major breakthroughs in vaccine development against the coronavirus. Last week, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced its vaccine was over 90% effective in treating the respiratory virus.
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said the company has “chased” the novel coronavirus since January.
“All along, we have known that each day matters. This positive interim analysis from our Phase 3 study has given us the first clinical validation that our vaccine can prevent Covid-19 disease, including severe disease,” he said in a statement Monday.
The third phase of Moderna’s trial on a coronavirus vaccine candidate involved some 30,000 participants, half of which took a placebo while the other half received the actual vaccine under development.
Of the 15,000 test subjects given a placebo, Moderna said Monday that only 90 of those individuals contracted Covid-19. Less than a dozen placebo-consumers contracted a more severe form of the virus.
Among the 15,000 participants who actually took the vaccine, just five became infected with Covid-19 and none became severely ill. Side effects from the clinical trial vaccine, for now, appear minimal.
“Preliminary analysis suggests a broadly consistent safety and efficacy profile across all evaluated subgroups,” Moderna said in its announcement.