VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – For the second time in as many weeks, a pharmaceutical giant is out with successful news about a COVID-19 vaccine.
Moderna has revealed preliminary data suggesting its candidate has an efficacy rate of 94.5 per cent. This comes about a week after Pfizer came out with news that preliminary data showed its vaccine candidate appears to be 90 per cent effective in stopping transmission of COVID-19 among people who have not been previously infected.
Scientists and other experts are calling this breakthrough a game changer, but warn it could still be a long time before the average person will receive a vaccine.
The final-stage trial for Moderna started the same day as Pfizer’s in late July, but there is a bit of a difference between the two shots.
While Pfizer’s vaccine is given twice over three weeks, Moderna’s shot is given two times over a 30 day period.
Dr. Stephen Hoge, Moderna’s president, welcomed the “really important milestone” but said having similar results from two different companies is what’s most reassuring.
“That should give us all hope that actually a vaccine is going to be able to stop this pandemic and hopefully get us back to our lives,” Hoge told The Associated Press.
“It won’t be Moderna alone that solves this problem. It’s going to require many vaccines” to meet the global demand, he added.
The reaction in global financial markets was immediate. The Dow doubled premarket gains and was up 500 points before the opening bell. Shares of Moderna, which rocketed 13% higher, were likely to hit an all-time high. Markets in Asia and Europe jumped sharply as well.
Moderna…now up 18% pre-market. Pfizer…down 2% (likely because its vaccine storage/transportation specs are much more challenging)
— mike eppel (@eppman) November 16, 2020
Moderna’s vaccine, created with the National Institutes of Health, is being studied in 30,000 volunteers who received either the real vaccination or a dummy shot.
Authorities have stressed it’s unlikely any vaccine will arrive much before the end of the year, and limited initial supplies will be rationed
Canada has bought the rights to millions of doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, if it proves effective and Health Canada approves it for use here. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the government would purchase more if the initial round goes well.
Overall, Canada has contracts to buy tens of millions of vaccines from various producers, should their candidates be viable.
Trudeau called news of Pfizer’s promising trials “very encouraging” on Nov. 9, but added other vaccine candidates have also appeared to progress well.
COVID-19 cases continue to soar across the country, which entered the second wave of the virus in September, according to the prime minister.
So far, Canada has recorded more than 296,000 cases of COVID-19 and close to 11,000 deaths since the outbreak began. Globally, more than 54.4 million cases have been reported.