The biotech company Moderna announced on Monday that its new vaccine is 94.5% effective at preventing the contraction of COVID-19.
Following Pfizer’s announcement last week, Moderna is now the second company to have announced the successful creation of a vaccine for COVID-19 within one week. Pfizer said its vaccine was also over 90% effective.
“This is a pivotal moment in the development of our COVID-19 vaccine candidate,” Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna, said in a press release on Monday, November 16.
“Since early January, we have chased this virus with the intent to protect as many people around the world as possible. All along, we have known that each day matters. This positive interim analysis from our Phase 3 study has given us the first clinical validation that our vaccine can prevent COVID-19 disease, including severe disease,” he added.
The announcement from Moderna comes after the “independent NIH-appointed Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) for the Phase 3 study of mRNA-1273, [Moderna’s] vaccine candidate against COVID-19… informed Moderna” that it had met its goal for vaccine efficacy. The Phase 3 study was conducted on over 30,000 participants across the United States.
Of those enrolled in the study, 95 participants contracted the coronavirus. Ninety of them were in the placebo group while just five of them were in the group receiving the vaccination. Additionally, of the 11 participants who developed “severe cases,” all of them were in the placebo group. None of those with severe symptoms had received Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine.
“This is really a historic day,” Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Alex Azar said on Monday morning on “Fox & Friends.”
Secretary Azar also noted that through Operation Warp Speed, the federal government has injected around $2 billion to support the creation of Moderna’s vaccine.
“The U.S. government has previously struck a deal with Moderna for 100 million doses, with an option to buy an additional 400 million doses,” Fox News reports.
Twenty million doses will be available by the end of 2020 while Moderna plans to make between 500 million and one billion doses in 2021.
President Trump took to Twitter to tout the news. “Another vaccine just announced,” he wrote. “This time by Moderna, 95% effective. For those great ‘historians,’ please remember that these great discoveries, which will end the China Plague, all took place on my watch!”
There is conflicting information about whether Moderna or Pfizer used cell lines from aborted babies to create its respective vaccines.
According to The New York Times, “At least two companies racing to create a vaccine against the coronavirus, Moderna and AstraZeneca” are relying on “human cells derived from a fetus aborted decades ago.”
Catholic Bishop Joseph Strickland, an outspoke pro-life advocate, expressed his concerns about the Moderna vaccine on Twitter following its successful Phase Three trial.
“Moderna vaccine is not morally produced,” the bishop wrote. “I urge all who believe in the sanctity of life to reject a vaccine which has been produced immorally.”
However, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, neither Pfizer nor Moderna used cell lines derived from aborted babies in the design, development or production of their vaccines.
This is because, according to an article in Aleteia, the mRNA technology which both Pfizer and Moderna used “does not require any cells at all. The vaccine is instead developed in test tubes using chemicals (RNA) and an enzyme.”
Yet, both companies may have used such cell lines during the “confirmatory lab test” phase, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute.
So, who is right?
Though it is unclear at this point, The Daily Citizen has reached out to Moderna inquiring about the conflicting information but has not yet received a response as of published time.
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