There are now two promising potential COVID vaccines. This is what we know about them.
Nearly seven months after Operation Warp Speed was created, Americans are finally starting to get answers about the candidate vaccines that could potentially slow the coronavirus pandemic.
Operation Warp Speed, the White House-led task force on coronavirus vaccine treatment and development, was created on May 15. Since then, vague and contradicting timelines made by both the Trump administration and leading scientists have muddled predictions about when a COVID-19 vaccine would be available to the public.
However, two big companies leading the race for a vaccine have released promising results from their Phase 3 trials.
Here’s what we know about both trials and what they might mean for the future of the pandemic.
“There’s part of me that tries to hear this as a dispassionate physician, but as a human being, this makes me giddy,” said Dr. Robert Wachter, chairman of the Department of Medicine at UCSF. “You can really see the light at the end of this tunnel. It’s unbelievable.”
Moderna’s good news also proves that Pfizer/BioNTech’s results were not a fluke, he said.
Out of Pfizer’s 44,000 volunteers, half the participants received a placebo and half the vaccine, so the new data shows that more people who received the placebo than the vaccine came down with COVID-19.
They were protected a week after the second dose of the vaccine. The two doses are given 21 days apart. Pfizer/BioNTech will do a final check of effectiveness when 164 study participants have fallen ill.
Moderna’s vaccine appears to be 94.5% effective against the disease, after 95 people out of the 30,000 volunteers came down with COVID-19, 90 of whom received the placebo. Eleven people – all in the placebo group – developed “serious” cases of the disease.
A final analysis is expected to include 151 trial volunteers, by which point, statistically, the company can be 90% sure that its findings will hold true.