Moderna INC announced on Monday that its experimental vaccine is 94. 6% effective in preventing COVID-19 disease, according to the information provided by its clinical study. With this announcement Moderna becomes the second company in U.S. to announce results that exceed expectations.
As part of Operation Warp Speed, launched by Trump’s administration, along with the Pfizer Inc vaccine, (which last week announced it was 90% effective), the United States could have a stock of 20 million of doses to distribute in December in case both vaccines are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
For next year, the government could access more than a billion doses of both vaccines, leaving a clear surplus for a nation of 330 million residents. The vaccine comes at a time when infections hit record numbers in the United States and Europe.
Moderna’s study was carried out with 30.000 volunteers who were given one half a placebo and the other half the actual vaccine. Preliminary results from the Moderna study showed that of the 30.000 participants, only ninety-five were infected, of which 5 were given the actual vaccine; while the remaining ninety infected were given the placebo, and of those ninety, 11 had severe symptoms.
The technology behind Moderna’s and Pfizer vaccines
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were designed using Messenger RNA (mRNA) technology. MRNA medicines, unlike traditional vaccines, are not small molecules, nor are they biological products such as recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies, which were the foundation of the biotechnology industry.
Like DNA, ribonucleic acid (RNA) functions as a chain of the genetic code that transmits essential information for the functioning of our systems, such as protein synthesis (a process in which our cells create essential proteins for our body to survive).
MRNA drugs are a set of genetic instructions that are passed on to cells in the body indicating that they must make proteins to prevent or combat diseases like COVID-19 in this case.
Through a process known as transcription, a copy of the mRNA from a DNA sequence is made to create the protein. This copy (the mRNA) travels from the nucleus of the cell to a part of it known as the cytoplasm, which is in charge of housing the so-called ribosomes.
Ribosomes are like nano-machines (organulle) in the cells responsible for transforming amino acids into protein. In a process known as “translation,”ribosomes”read” mRNA and follow its instructions to create the necessary proteins the body requires to prevent contagion.
Markets rise with Moderna’s announcement
A great advantage of Moderna’s vaccine is that it does not require an ultra-cold storage like Pfizer’s, which needs to be stored in -70 Celsius cold chambers, that is, Antarctic temperature during winter.
The Modern Vaccine can be refrigerated at a temperature of 2 to 8 degrees for 30 days and can be kept for 6 months at -20 degrees, which would greatly reduce the costs of distributing a vaccine in relation to the Pfizer alternative that requires containers.
Modern stock market price so far this year has quadrupled and grew 15% following the announcement of effectiveness on the European stock exchanges and Wall Street. The S&P500 index (index that measures the share price of the main companies in the USA grew a 1. 3% just before managing to set a new record price).
Shares in Pfizer decreased by 1. 7% as a result of the announcement, as well as the price of the British pharmaceutical company “AztraZeneca”, which is still to announce the results of its vaccine, which is also in its last phase of studies.