Shares of Moderna (Nasdaq: MRNA) surged as much as 15% by midday Monday after it said that its Phase 3 trial against Covid-19 that tested 30,000 patients was more than 94% effective in its first interim analysis.
The biotech giant said in a statement today that the study found that 95 patients contracted Covid-19. Of the cases, 90 of those patients received placebo shots, while just five were given the vaccine. Also, 11 patients developed severe Covid-19 cases, all of which got injected with the placebo shots.
While the news doesn’t come as a big surprise after fellow mRNA technology vaccine developers Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech (Nasdaq: BNTX) showed to be more than 90% effective, that still didn’t stop Dr. Anthony Fauci from raving about it.
"These are obviously very exciting results, the U.S.’s top infectious disease official said, according to CNN.
He added, "It's just as good as it gets -- 94.5% is truly outstanding."
Vaccine May Not be as Effective When Normalcy Returns
While the news in the last week on the vaccine front has been very encouraging, perhaps the vaccine won’t be more than 90% effective when normal life returns. Currently, amid the global pandemic, people are taking extensive health precautions, which include mask-wearing and other sterile measures. Also, Moderna warned that the effective rate of the vaccine could change from 94.5% once the final count is taken.
The Temperature Advantage of Moderna Over Pfizer
When comes to vaccine distribution, it appears Moderna has one big advantage over Pfizer. While both vaccines require freezing, Moderna’s vaccine just needs to be kept at negative 20 degrees Celsius compared with the minus 75 degrees Celsius that Pfizer needs. While minus 20 degrees Celsius is stll very cold, the difference between these two temperates as it relates to the number of clinics with freezers capable of storing these two vaccines is significant.
Tal Zacks, the chief medical officer of the company says that the company’s vaccine can be kept in "a readily available freezer that is available in most doctors' offices and pharmacies,” as CNN cited.
Also, Moderna's vaccine can be kept in regular refrigerators for roughly a month, while Pfizer’s could only last five days in a refrigerator.
Fauci expects Covid-19 vaccinations for high-risk Individuals to start in the later portion of December, while the general population will begin getting injected by the end of April.
Moderna plans on submitting Emergency Emergency Use Authorization to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “in the coming weeks.”