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We can stop COVID-19: Moderna vaccine success gives world more hope

Stock MarketsNov 17, 2020 12:47AM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Vials and medical syringe are seen in front of Moderna logo in this illustration 2/2

By Julie Steenhuysen and Michael Erman

(Reuters) - Moderna Inc's (O:MRNA) experimental vaccine is 94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19 based on interim data from a late-stage trial, the company said on Monday, becoming the second U.S. drugmaker to report results that far exceed expectations.

Together with Pfizer Inc's (N:PFE) vaccine, which is also more than 90% effective, and pending more safety data and regulatory review, the United States could have two vaccines authorized for emergency use in December with as many as 60 million doses of vaccine available this year.

The vaccines, both developed with new technology known as messenger RNA (mRNA), represent powerful tools to fight a pandemic that has infected 54 million people worldwide and killed 1.3 million.

Unlike Pfizer's vaccine, Moderna's shot can be stored at normal fridge temperatures, which should make it easier to distribute, a critical factor as COVID-19 cases are soaring, hitting new records in the United States and pushing some European countries back into lockdowns.

"We are going to have a vaccine that can stop COVID-19," Moderna President Stephen Hoge said in a telephone interview.

Moderna's interim analysis was based on 95 infections among trial participants who received the vaccine or a placebo. Only five infections occurred in volunteers who received the vaccine mRNA-1273, which is administered in two shots 28 days apart.

"The vaccine is really the light at the end of the tunnel," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious diseases expert said. He urged Americans not to let their guard down and to continue washing hands and being vigilant about social distancing.

Even with fast authorization, the vaccines will not come in time for most people celebrating the U.S. Thanksgiving and end-of-year holidays, when families and friends come together - just the types of gatherings public health officials warn against.

Moderna expects to have enough safety data required for U.S. authorization in the next week or so and expects to file for emergency use authorization (EUA) in the coming weeks.

The company's shares, which have more than quadrupled this year, jumped 8%, while European and U.S. stocks rose. The benchmark S&P 500 (SPX) rose 1%, while the pan-European STOXX 600 (STOXX) climbed 1.3%. [MKTS/GLOB]

Shares in Pfizer and its partner BioNTech (O:BNTX), whose vaccine must be transported at far colder temperatures, fell 4.3% and 16.4% respectively, while Britain's AstraZeneca (L:AZN), which has yet to release any results from its late-stage vaccine trials, was down 1%.

(For graphic on U.S. biotech shares: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/dgkvlalampb/biotech.PNG)

SEVERE CASES

Moderna's data provide further validation of the promising but previously unproven mRNA platform, which turns the human body into a vaccine factory by coaxing cells to make virus proteins that the immune system sees as a threat and attacks.

Moderna expects the vaccine to be stable at normal fridge temperatures of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (36 to 48°F) for 30 days and it can be stored for up to 6 months at -20C.

Pfizer's vaccine must be shipped and stored at -70C, the sort of temperature typical of an Antarctic winter. It can be stored for up to five days at standard refrigerator temperatures, or for up to 15 days in a thermal shipping box.

The data from Moderna's trial involving 30,000 volunteers also showed the vaccine prevented cases of severe COVID-19, a question that still remains with the Pfizer vaccine. Of the 95 cases in Moderna's trial, 11 were severe and all 11 occurred among volunteers who got the placebo.

Moderna, part of the U.S. government's Operation Warp Speed program, expects to produce about 20 million doses for the United States this year, millions of which the company has already made and is ready to ship if it gets FDA authorization.

"Assuming we get an emergency use authorization, we'll be ready to ship through Warp Speed almost in hours," Hoge said. "So it could start being distributed instantly."

The 95 cases of COVID-19 included several key groups who are at increased risk for severe disease, including 15 cases in adults aged 65 and older and 20 in participants from racially diverse groups.

"We will need much more data and a full report or publication to see if the benefit is consistent across all groups, notably the elderly, but this is definitely encouraging progress, said Stephen Evans, professor of pharmacoepidemiology, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

The trials were designed to measure whether the vaccines stop people from getting sick rather than whether they prevent transmission, which remains to be tested.

"It is likely that vaccines that prevent symptomatic disease will reduce the duration and level of infectiousness, and thus reduce transmission, but we don't yet know if this effect will be large enough to make any meaningful difference to the spread of the virus within communities," said Eleanor Riley, professor of immunology and infectious disease at the University of Edinburgh.

ROLLING REVIEW

Most side effects were mild to moderate. A significant proportion of volunteers, however, experienced more severe aches and pains after taking the second dose, including about 10% who had fatigue severe enough to interfere with daily activities while another 9% had severe body aches. Most of these complaints were generally short-lived, Moderna said.

"These effects are what we would expect with a vaccine that is working and inducing a good immune response," said Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London.

The U.S. government, faced with the world's highest known number of COVID-19 cases, could have access next year to more than 1 billion doses from Moderna and Pfizer, more than needed for the country's 330 million residents.

The Trump Administration has mainly relied on the development of vaccines and treatments as its response to the pandemic. Moderna has received nearly $1 billion in research and development funding from the U.S. government and has a $1.5 billion deal for 100 million doses. The government has an option for another 400 million doses.

The company hopes to produce between 500 million and 1 billion doses in 2021, split between its U.S. and international manufacturing sites, depending in part on demand.

Europe's health regulator said on Monday it had launched a real-time "rolling review" of Moderna's vaccine, as it has done for vaccines from Pfizer and AstraZeneca (L:AZN). Brussels also said it was in talks with Moderna about securing doses.

Other countries such as China and Russia have already begun vaccinations. Russia licensed its Sputnik-V COVID-19 vaccine for domestic use in August before it started large-scale trials. It said on Nov. 11 that its vaccine was 92% effective based on 20 infections in its large trial.

We can stop COVID-19: Moderna vaccine success gives world more hope
 

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Comments (31)
PresXi DoitAllNightLong
PresXi DoitAllNightLong Nov 17, 2020 1:04AM ET
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Get this out asap to everyone,why wait. So allow folks to fall ill and add to statistics, come on horrible, ship this asap.
Thom Miller
Thom Miller Nov 16, 2020 3:19PM ET
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Trump’s “Warped Speed” is his latest failure. Pfizer did not participate in this project and yet they “outwarped” Moderna, which was! LOL! I think Donny could better use his “Warped Speed” to concede the election to Landslide Joe! Beat the pants off Donny in both the Popular Vote and the Electoral College. Not quite as fast as Stormy did, but beat the pants off him nonetheless! LOL! LOSER!
Chris Scheer
Chris Scheer Nov 16, 2020 3:08PM ET
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Thank You President Trump!
Thom Miller
Thom Miller Nov 16, 2020 3:08PM ET
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Yes, thanks for leaving after 4 dreadful years ruining this great country of ours. Thanks Landslide, Joe!
Chris Scheer
Chris Scheer Nov 16, 2020 3:08PM ET
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joes not president?
Chris Scheer
Chris Scheer Nov 16, 2020 3:08PM ET
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Trump is the greatest President in modern history. Joe Biden doesn't know where he's at
Jurgen Daub
Jurgen Daub Nov 16, 2020 3:08PM ET
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Chris Scheer the biggest, may be, the greatest, no way
Thom Miller
Thom Miller Nov 16, 2020 1:20PM ET
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Pfizer was not at all a part of Donny’s “Warped” Speed project, but they were the first company to come out with a successful Covid19 vaccination. Once again, Donny totally blew it, just like he blew the election. Donny — the Republican Socialist! Joe — Landslide Joe!
Musical Critic
Musical Critic Nov 16, 2020 1:04PM ET
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Even a placebo would be 98% effective.. show us 6-sigma results u mor*ns!
James Smith
James Smith Nov 16, 2020 12:36PM ET
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Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is bank rolling them.
Alex Cavasin
Alex Cavasin Nov 16, 2020 12:19PM ET
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frak vaccines
Musical Critic
Musical Critic Nov 16, 2020 12:03PM ET
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I'm not taking any vaccine until the results are 6-sigma standard!!
John Mage
John Mage Nov 16, 2020 11:29AM ET
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This comes from a company that has never been able to produce an approved drug.
Mark Derlo
Mark Derlo Nov 16, 2020 11:26AM ET
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data they provided is laughable ! They should have said, at least this: we gave placebo to X people, and a vaccine to Y people; x of X group and y of Y group got infected and had cov19 positive tests; ****% of x and yy % of y got sick and ... got mild symptoms, and .... got severe symptoms .... and .... died. I mean at least that should have been published; Since they did not give us any serious data, I suspect that they have nothing significantly better than a placebo
John Mage
John Mage Nov 16, 2020 11:19AM ET
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Let's all drink the cool aid.
Jack Lee
Jack Lee Nov 16, 2020 11:15AM ET
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I am serious. cops need get involved in this kind of lies. this is RNA virus and it changes all the time. you will never get a vaccine to end it
Musical Critic
Musical Critic Nov 16, 2020 11:08AM ET
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Yeah someone mentioned euphoria.. markets are poised for that.. I'm waiting for levels below march lows.. I'm I'll have them.. i have gold anyway.. no prob if those levels dont come.. my goldwill soon give me $3000 or even higher
Edward Chong
Edward Chong Nov 16, 2020 11:08AM ET
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haha i have position in spot gold too. but i wont dream of 3000. if it ever reach there. there is something wrong with the global economy.
Musical Critic
Musical Critic Nov 16, 2020 11:08AM ET
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which is exactly what I'm hinting at!!!
Edward Chong
Edward Chong Nov 16, 2020 11:08AM ET
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put in this way. if it really hit 3k and your target reach but external environment is so bad and your company close down and u lose your job. u think is better this way ???
Musical Critic
Musical Critic Nov 16, 2020 11:08AM ET
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the question is not which way is better.. the current scenario is all set for tough times setting in.. and we habe to prepare for that instead of hoping for something that will not happen!
Musical Critic
Musical Critic Nov 16, 2020 10:58AM ET
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what they are essentially saying is 5-10% of the poor vaccinated people will have severe complications leading to fatal end..And the market is happy as always!!We are better off living with covid where the fatality rate is much less.. 1%
David David
David9 Nov 16, 2020 10:52AM ET
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I think this is a lie, if it is true why does it say 94.5% effective. There is no way they can say with that much certainty down to .5%.
Jurgen Daub
Jurgen Daub Nov 16, 2020 10:52AM ET
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it's calculated. like 2x2=4. any daught?
Daniel Lu
Daniel Lu Nov 16, 2020 10:50AM ET
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Fasten your seatbelt for another hope ride
faizal riza ahmad
faizal riza ahmad Nov 16, 2020 10:43AM ET
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Malaysia glove counters having gap down for tomorrow”s Trading 9.00am GMT. I invite traders from all over the world to have a discounted “feast”.
Edward Chong
Edward Chong Nov 16, 2020 10:43AM ET
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haha pls sell top glove with all your trading limits !
Whaling Trawler
Whaling Trawler Nov 16, 2020 10:30AM ET
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It's ok Moderna. I still have NeoCitran in the cupboard for when I get the sniffles because that's all this hyped up virus is. A common cold.
David David
David9 Nov 16, 2020 10:30AM ET
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Who told you that? Where did you get the facts?
Thom Miller
Thom Miller Nov 16, 2020 10:28AM ET
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Pfizer was not at all a part of Donny’s “Warped” Speed project, but they were the first company to come out with a successful Covid19 vaccination. Once again, Donny totally blew it, just like he blew the election.
Mart Zee
Mart Zee Nov 16, 2020 10:21AM ET
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Who else is making vaccines? I want to buy more calls when they come out with a miraculous 99% effective vaccine...
Dieder de
Dieder de Nov 16, 2020 10:21AM ET
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novavax
Dieder de
Dieder de Nov 16, 2020 10:21AM ET
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novavax
Mart Zee
Mart Zee Nov 16, 2020 10:19AM ET
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So, we could not create an effective vaccine for a common flu. Despite people being vaccinated every year, in average 70,000 Americans die of flu every year. And now we suddenly have a miraculous 95% effective vaccine (last year the flu vaccine was 26% effective only). Yeah, sure... And now, please, tell me the Red Hood meeting with the wolf in the forest story.
Thom Miller
Thom Miller Nov 16, 2020 10:19AM ET
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On average only 35,000 Americans die of the seadonal flu each year! Liar Trump has gotten into your head on this!
Biji Rajaku
Biji Rajaku Nov 16, 2020 10:14AM ET
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from 90% to 94,5% for sales trick only...?
Daniel Lu
Daniel Lu Nov 16, 2020 10:14AM ET
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Settle for the 100% , not for less
Lakshmana Reddy
Lakshmana Reddy Nov 16, 2020 9:54AM ET
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Moderna CEO will sell their stocks 🤣
Robert Cox
Robert Cox Nov 16, 2020 9:54AM ET
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Insiders have been selling off for months.
Kings Wales
Kings Wales Nov 16, 2020 9:23AM ET
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A vaccine for a virus is highly improbable. Even so there is a difference between a vaccine and a cure. Just another short market euphoria.
Zach Earle
Zach Earle Nov 16, 2020 9:15AM ET
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'Fridge' temps, like any reputable news source would say.
 
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