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UK strikes deal for five million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine

The UK government has secured access to five million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine after interim data, released yesterday, suggested that the shot is 94.5% effective.

The preliminary results come from an interim analysis of 95 cases in a phase III trial of the shot, of which 90 cases of COVID-19 were observed in the placebo group versus five cases in the vaccinated group, reflecting a 94.5% efficacy rate.

In addition, a secondary endpoint analysed severe cases of COVID-19 and included 11 severe cases in the first interim analysis, with all of these cases occurring in the placebo group.

Moderna added in a statement that as more cases occur within the phase III trial, dubbed COVE, the vaccine efficacy estimate may change.

“This positive interim analysis from our phase III study has given us the first clinical validation that our vaccine can prevent COVID-19 disease, including severe disease,” said Stéphane Bancel, chief executive officer of Moderna.

“This milestone is only possible because of the hard work and sacrifices of so many. I want to thank the thousands of participants in our phase I, phase II and phase III studies, and the staff at our clinical trial sites who have been on the front lines of the fight against the virus,” he added.

Following the initial positive results, the UK government announced that the vaccine doses it has secured could be delivered to the UK as early as Spring 2021, with the potential for the more doses to be secured next year.

This follows previous deals agreed with Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca/Oxford University for their respective COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

“Today’s (16 November) announcement is on top of the 350 million doses the UK has already secured from a range of other vaccine developers, putting us towards the front of the international pack on a per capita basis,” said Business Secretary Alok Sharma.

“The speed at which scientists around the world have worked on a vaccine has been incredible, and it is thanks to their ingenuity that we are on the cusp of one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs in recent years,” he added