MONDAY, Nov. 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Moderna Inc. announced on Monday that early results show its COVID-19 vaccine is 94.5 percent effective.
The researchers behind the vaccine said the results were far better than they had hoped. Moderna said in a statement that it expects to have approximately 20 million doses of the vaccine ready to ship in the United States by the end of the year, and it is on track to produce 500 million to 1 billion doses globally in 2021, The New York Times reported.
The Moderna vaccine results were analyzed by an independent data safety monitoring board, appointed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Moderna, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, developed its vaccine in collaboration with researchers from the Vaccine Research Center, part of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Moderna announced the early findings in a news release, not in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, and the company has not yet disclosed the detailed data that would allow outside experts to evaluate their claims, The Times noted. In a press release, the National Institutes of Health said there were 95 cases of COVID-19 reported in the interim analysis, including 90 in the placebo group and five in the vaccinated group. Eleven of the 95 cases were severe, all of which occurred in the placebo group.
Despite the promising results, the vaccine must be stored and transported at extremely cold temperatures -- minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit -- which will make distribution a challenge, The Times reported. Most of the other vaccines in development can just be refrigerated, the newspaper added. However, Moderna said Monday that researchers had found that its vaccine had a longer shelf life in the refrigerator than previously thought: 30 days, not seven. Not only that, the vaccine will last 12 hours at room temperature, the company added.