In the race for coronavirus vaccine, Moderna is in the top three along with Pfizer and AstraZeneca. Moderna has sought approval in the EU and the USA, followed by Pfizer. These authorizations for issuance have yet to be reviewed by higher authorities, but Moderna France CEO is confident.
Stéphane Bancel sums results up: “People who have been vaccinated with our vaccine know that there is a 94% chance that Covid-19 will have zero symptoms if infected. 6% with symptoms of illness are mild.” He goes on: “Few people have experienced severe cases of Covid, resulting in hospitalization, intensive care, and, in the worst case, death.” As to the question to know if the vaccine will prevent the transmission of the virus, he honestly answers: “we don’t have any data”.
Moderna vaccine tests are performed on monkeys, “after vaccination, a very high dose of the virus is given to the nose” and it end up in very speaking results. “On the first day there is almost no virus in the nose and on the fourth day there is no virus at all. […] I think the same is likely to happen to humans, but the data, I can’t say for sure.”
As for the duration of Moderna vaccine immunity, the vaccine is effective at least for three months. “all participants, including the elderly, have very slightly reduced antibody levels” Bancel confirms. Yet, these results are to be taken with a bit of a distance and one shall wait for the phase 4 of the tests, on the long-term basis. Moderna CEO adds that booster shots will be surely required with a different rate depending on the age range: “It’s hard to say that young people are two or five years old, but I think they can draw for a few years … older people may need to boost more often. Once a year or once every two years.”
He says the vaccine file is in the hand of the authorities and he is ready to “answer questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week”. With the phase 3 and 30,000 people, Moderna vaccine shows countless data to manage, but the primary results are encouraging. The French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM) has announced that the vaccine will be mostly tested on people aged 70+, to know if it effectively protects elderly people.
Europe has secured 80 million doses of Moderna vaccine, including an option on 80 million extra doses.