Moderna filing for FDA emergency COVID-19 vaccine approval, reports 94.1% efficacy


The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in development was 94.1% effective in the final analysis of its 30,000-participant phase 3 study. Bolstered by the new findings, the company plans to file for an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today, according to a company release.

A total of 11 people in the mRNA-1273 vaccinated group later tested positive for COVID-19, compared with 185 participants given two placebo injections, resulting in a point estimate of 94.1% efficacy. This finding aligns with the 94.5% efficacy in interim trial results announced on November 16, as reported by Medscape Medical News.

Furthermore, Moderna announced that the vaccine prevented serious cases of infection. All 30 severe infections occurred among those people randomly assigned to placebo.

The FDA plans to review the Moderna vaccine safety and efficacy data at the next Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) meeting scheduled for December 17. If and when approved, healthcare providers can use the new 91301 CPT code specific to mRNA-1273 vaccination.

“This positive primary analysis confirms the ability of our vaccine to prevent COVID-19 disease with 94.1% efficacy and, importantly, the ability to prevent severe COVID-19 disease,” said Stéphane Bancel, MBA, MEng, chief executive officer of Moderna, in the news release. “We believe that our vaccine will provide a new and powerful tool that may change the course of this pandemic and help prevent severe disease, hospitalizations, and death.”

Vaccine efficacy remained consistent across different groups analyzed by age, race/ethnicity, and gender. The 196 COVID-19 cases in the trial included 33 adults older than 65 years and 42 people from diverse communities, including 29 Hispanic or Latinx, six Black or African Americans, four Asian Americans, and three multiracial participants, the company reported.

No serious vaccine-related safety issues

The mRNA-1273 vaccine was generally well tolerated and no serious safety concerns with the vaccine have been identified to date, the company reported.

Injection site pain, fatigue, myalgia, arthralgia, headache, and erythema/redness at the injection site were the most common solicited adverse events in a prior analysis. The company noted that these solicited adverse reactions increased in frequency and severity after the second vaccine dose. A continuous review of safety data is ongoing.

One COVID-19-related death in the study occurred in the placebo group.

Ready to start shipping

Moderna expects to have approximately 20 million doses of mRNA-1273 available in the United States by the end of this year. The company reports that it’s on track to manufacture 500 million to 1 billion doses globally in 2021.

The company also is seeking approval from nations and organizations worldwide, including a conditional approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The study is being conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Moderna will be the second company to file an EUA with the FDA for a COVID vaccine, after Pfizer requested one for its mRNA vaccine earlier this month.

This article first appeared on Medscape.com.

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