Home >Science >Health >COVID-19 vaccine race: Spotlight on Pfizer, Moderna as trial data to be released soon
Moderna's experimental vaccine contains genetic material called messenger RNA (AFP)
Moderna's experimental vaccine contains genetic material called messenger RNA (AFP)

COVID-19 vaccine race: Spotlight on Pfizer, Moderna as trial data to be released soon

  • Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine has produced a strong immune response in older adults with no serious adverse effects during phase I trial, shows study
  • Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine could be distributed before the end of the year if found to be safe and effective, CEO said

Two vaccine makers — Moderna and Pfizer — should have enough data from its late-stage trial to know whether its coronavirus vaccine works by next month, according to reports.

Moderna's experimental vaccine contains genetic material called messenger RNA, or mRNA which provokes the immune system to fight the virus, scientists believe. Dubbed as mRNA-1273, the vaccine has been developed by Moderna in partnership with the US government’s National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The COVID-19 vaccine elicited a strong immune response in older adults with no serious adverse effects during phase I trial, a study by the New England Journal of Medicine revealed. "The vaccine produced high levels of both binding and neutralising antibodies in older adults," the study claimed.

Last month, nine drug companies, including Pfizer, released a letter pledging that they would prioritize safety and uphold " the integrity of the scientific process" in their efforts to develop coronavirus vaccines.

The company could have enough data by November whether it works or not, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in an interview with CNBC.com.

Moderna Inc earlier told Reuters it would seek emergency FDA authorization to use its vaccine in high-risk groups if an interim assessment of its trial showed its vaccine was at least 70% effective.

Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine could be distributed to Americans before the end of the year if found to be safe and effective, CEO Albert Bourla said. The drugmaker should have key data from its late-stage trial for the Food and Drug Administration by the end of October, Bourla said in an interview. If the FDA approves the vaccine, the company is prepared to distribute “hundreds of thousands of doses," he said.

Pfizer is developing a COVID-19 vaccine with German partner BioNTech. Europe's health regulator said on Tuesday it has started a rolling review of the experimental COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

Pfizer and BioNTech plan an initial look at their data after 32 coronavirus infections have accumulated in their 44,000-person Phase III trial. The vaccine maker earlier said its interim analyses were designed to show conclusive evidence "as quickly as possible amid the devastating pandemic if our vaccine meets the stringent standards set by FDA."

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