Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine has been found to be 100 per cent effective at preventing severe cases of COVID-19.
Results from its Phase 3 trial also showed the vaccine, which the US-based pharmaceutical company designed in just two days, is 94.1 per cent effective at protecting people from the virus.
In a statement on Tuesday morning (Australian time), Moderna said it would seek emergency use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration.
It comes just over a week after Pfizer applied for the same authorisation.
Moderna’s chief medical officer Dr Tal Zaks said he became emotional when he learnt of the “striking” results from their final trial.
He was quoted by The Associated Press as saying, “it was the first time I allowed myself to cry”.
“We have a full expectation to change the course of this pandemic.”
Moderna will become only the second company to request FDA approval, which would allow its vaccine to be used in emergency cases.
“We have already, just in the trial, have already saved lives. Just imagine the impact then multiplied to the people who can get this vaccine,” Dr Zaks said.
The results from its late-stage trial were derived from vaccinating 11 of the 196 infected people participating in its study.
The other 185 received the placebo, 30 of whom had become severely ill. Moderna said the 11 COVID-cases who got the real vaccine were protected by the vaccine.
“This positive primary analysis confirms the ability of our vaccine to prevent COVID-19 disease with 94.1 per cent efficacy and importantly, the ability to prevent severe COVID-19 disease,” the company concluded.
Moderna said its application for emergency use authorisation will be reviewed by the FDA when it meets with its advisory committee on December 17.
In the meantime, Moderna said it is preparing to apply for authorisation from the European Medicines Agency on Monday.
‘Next phase in the war against COVID’
Top US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci said the first vaccinations in the US are expected to take place “towards the latter part of December”.
Hospitals across the country are being stretched to their limits, with more than 160,000 new cases and 1400 new deaths being reported every day in the US.
New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo said the pandemic has got so bad, its city is entering a new phase of the fight against COVID-19, which he likened to a “war”.
“It’s a new phase in the war against COVID,” Mr Cuomo told reporters on Tuesday morning (Australian time).
“I think of this as a war. It’s a war of attrition … COVID is an enemy that we’re dealing with. It’s attacking people. It’s killing people,” he said.
Mr Cuomo said the city would have to start to lean on retired doctors and nurses if the crisis continues to intensify.
He requested that officials start locating retried health workers to take some of the load of hospitals.
New York had already been receiving help from medical personnel from across the US who travelled to the city last spring. But rising case numbers meant they had to return.
“We’re not going to live through the nightmare of overwhelmed hospitals again,” Mr Cuomo said.
“This was a serious issue last time.”