Moderna to the Rescue?

On November 17th, ‘Happy Birthday Covid’ memes overtook social media, and most of us couldn’t believe it’s been an entire year since this life-threatening #virus came into being. We’ve all been eagerly waiting for a vaccine to be the light at the end of this tunnel, but is #Moderna’s vaccine the answer to our prayers?

Moderna, a company based in #Massachusetts has tied up with the National Institute of Health to develop a vaccine. The company revealed that according to preliminary data from late-stage trials, its Covid-19 vaccine has proven to be 94.5% effective. The world’s eyes are now on Moderna, as the high figure they presented surpassed the effectiveness of Pfizer’s and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. It is important to note that out of the diverse 30,000 volunteers being studied by Moderna, none of them have suffered significant side effects. Although more work needs to be done on the vaccine to assure its safety and effectiveness, it comes as a glimmer of hope during these dark times.

If you’re wondering how the figure 94.5% came into being, here’s how. Through the process of random assignment, Moderna’s scientists administered either Moderna’s vaccine or a placebo to the volunteers. This was a blind trial, meaning that neither the volunteers nor the officials knew who got what.

In time, few of the volunteers tested positive for #Covid-19. To get a sense of the progress of the trail, an independent board of experts examined the first 95 volunteers who were infected. 90 of them had received the placebo, and only five had been given the vaccine. It is based on this data, that the board came to the conclusion that the vaccine is 94.5% effective. It is essential to know that of the 95 who got sick, 11 experienced the virus in the most severe form and none of these 11 were administered the vaccine. The five vaccinated volunteers who got sick experienced mild symptoms of the virus. This proved that Moderna’s vaccine does not only provide immunity from COVID, but also protects infected individuals from the harsh symptoms of the virus.

Moderna’s vaccines can be stored at a temperature that any ordinary home refrigerator can provide. The vaccine will be circulated through America’s Operation Wrap Speed program, using cold-chain shipping.

The trial is in progress and Moderna plans on seeking #FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval for emergency use authorization of the #vaccine in the coming weeks. Experts are optimistic about the approval and it is post this, that recommendations will be made regarding who receives the vaccine first. If the Moderna vaccine gains FDA approval before Pfizer, it will be the first ever authorized mRNA vaccine. MRNA is what is used to trigger the immune system to produce antibodies without using parts of the harmful virus.

Moderna aims at producing 20 #Million doses of its vaccine by the end of the year. Will 2021 really be a ‘Happy’ New Year? Only time will tell.

By: Adelle Fernandes

References

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/coronavirus-covid-vaccine-latest-update-november-15-7052318/

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-moderna-covid-19-vaccine-stability-eases-distribution-challenges-7053670/

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/modernas-covid-vaccine-what-you-need-to-know-7055012/

https://www.nbcnews.com/science/science-news/what-mrna-how-pfizer-moderna-tapped-new-tech-make-coronavirus-n1248054

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