Moderna Covid vaccine could have similar results to Pfizer drug, Fauci says


Positive results from a potential coronavirus vaccine announced by the drug maker Pfizer could indicate that two vaccines will be available, as biotech firm Moderna has relied on similar technology to produce its drug, according to Dr Anthony Fauci.

The nation’s leading infectious disease expert told The Washington Post that Pfizer’s reported results of a “90 per cent effective” vaccine are “really quite good, I mean extraordinary.”

Pfizer’s 44,000-person trial has found 94 cases of Covid-19 among patients who had not been previously infected. Fewer than nine patients among those who had the coronavirus received two shots of the vaccine.

The company announced its findings in a press release; the data has not been peer reviewed or published in a medical journal.

Pfizer said it not participate in Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed drug development programme, though vice president Mike Pence, who leads the White House coronavirus task force, attributed the company’s results to the “public-private partnership forged by the president.”

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“We were never part of the Warp Speed,” Kathrin Jansen, a senior vice president and the head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer, said on Monday. “We have never taken any money from the US government, or from anyone.”

But the company did receive a $2bn contract from the government to provide 100 million doses if the drug proved effective.

Eleven vaccine candidates are in late-stage trials; four are being developed in the US.

Moderna is among several firms that joined the president’s initiative, which set out to put several manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies in motion with federal financial support to rapidly produce vaccine candidates.

Results from a vaccine in drug trial phase from Moderna, supported by research from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, could be released within weeks.

Pfizer, which developed its vaccine with German firm BioNTech, is expected to submit an application to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency drug authorisation by the end of November.

The disease has infected more than 10 million Americans and killed nearly 240,000 since the onset of the outbreak. Health officials and analysts have warned that the virus is spreading at unprecedented rates, with seven-day average infections reached more than 110,000, while daily case counts broke record highs in at least four consecutive days last week.

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