The Food and Drug Administration expects to grant emergency use authorization for Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine on Friday, The New York Times reports.
The FDA, which last week approved Pfizer’s vaccine, is expected to open the door for six million more doses to be delivered in the coming weeks.
Distribution of the Moderna vaccine would begin as early as next week. Pfizer’s vaccine began to be distributed on Monday, days after it received its EUA.
The federal government signed a deal with both companies for a total of 200 million doses by spring 2021, meaning there should be enough of the two-dose vaccine for 100 million people in the US by April. The government also purchased another 100 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine for the second quarter. Both vaccines will be provided free of charge.
Data shows 94% efficacy:
The first data from Moderna’s trial shows that it has 94% efficacy in a trial of 30,000 people.
Like the Pfizer vaccine, minor side effects included fever, headache, and fatigue.
Moderna created the vaccine just two days after Chinese scientists released the genetic sequence of the virus in January.
The NIH and the federal government pumped $2.5 billion into the Moderna vaccine effort.
The data shows that the vaccine is equally effective in people of color and white people as well as men and women.
People over 65 had an estimated efficacy of 86.4%, somewhat lower than the overall efficacy.
The Pfizer vaccine data showed that it is effective against the virus within 10 days of the first dose, though Moderna’s data did not show such a significant effect after the first dose. None of the vaccine group trial participants developed severe cases, however.
Other vaccines lag:
Another vaccine by AstraZeneca and Oxford University came under scrutiny after it mixed results from two different trials and found that a half-dose and full-dose regiment had a 90% efficacy while two full-doses only had an efficacy of 62%.
It’s unclear when the company will compile enough data to get an EUA.
Another vaccine by Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline also failed to protect older participants from the virus. The companies are now planning a new set of trials with a different version of the vaccine, meaning the trial results will not be ready until the end of 2021.