United States (U.S.) biotech company Moderna (MRNA) has announced that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate has shown efficacy of 94.5% during the phase 3 trials of 30,000 participants in the U.S.
Moderna’s share price surged around 13% in premarket trading on news of the breakthrough. The company’s announcement comes exactly a week after Germany’s BioNTech (BNTX) and its U.S. partner Pfizer (PFE) said their vaccine was around 90% effective in phase 3 trials, based on preliminary data.
Both companies are working on messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines.
Unlike traditional vaccines, which work by putting weak or inactivated doses of a virus or bacteria into the body to make the immune systems produce antibodies, mRNA vaccines transmit a genetic code to cells telling them to produce a protein, which in turn activates the immune system.
Moderna’s vaccine will be able to be stored at between 2 and 8C, which is the temperature of normal fridges, making it easier to store than the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which needs to be kept mostly at -70C.
“This is a pivotal moment in the development of our COVID-19 vaccine candidate,” said Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel in a press statement.
Britain said it was in advanced talks to access COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna Inc, adding it would be available in Britain from spring 2021 at the earliest.
Although Britain has secured a total of 350 million doses of vaccine candidates from six different suppliers – including a Pfizer Inc. vaccine found to be more than 90% effective – it does not have a finalised agreement for the Moderna vaccine.