Health officials — and the stock market — rejoiced over news that pharmaceutical company Moderna reported their potential COVID-19 vaccine was nearly 95 percent successful in clinical trials.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease doctor and a leading voice on COVID and HIV, called the Moderna news "truly striking," saying he would have been happy if a potential vaccine was 60 percent successful. The Moderna news comes about a week after Pfizer, another pharmaceutical company, reported their potential vaccine was 90 percent effective.
Moderna's trial involved about 30,000 participants who were administered two shots — which, the vaccine would require if approved by the Food and Drug Administration (both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines would require two shots, spaced weeks apart). Only five people tested positive for the novel coronavirus after receiving the Moderna vaccine, while 95 people given a placebo shot contracted COVID.
Should the FDA grant emergency approval for the vaccine, the most vulnerable people — senior citizens and health care workers — could receive the shots by the end of the year. Mass vaccination would probably happen in the spring and summer after logistics are squared away; while the Pfizer vaccine requires the medicine be stored at very cold temperatures, the Moderna vaccine is frozen, but can be thawed and stored in normal refrigerators.
The vaccine news arrives as COVID-19 is spiking all over the nation and throughout many parts of the world. The U.S. has reported over 11 million cases of COVID-19 and over 245,000 deaths. Over 1.3 million people across the globe have died from the novel coronavirus.