President Trump praised the coronavirus vaccine from Massachusetts-based biotech company Moderna as one of two recent “great discoveries” after it announced Monday the vaccine is 94.5% effective according to interim analysis from a late-stage clinical trial.
The Moderna announcement came one week after Pfizer and BioNTech said their vaccine also tops 90% effectiveness.
In a Monday tweet, Trump asked “great ‘historians'” to “please remember that these great discoveries, which will end the China Plague, all took place on my watch!”
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar lauded Moderna’s vaccine as part of “President Trump’s vision” on “Fox & Friends” on Monday morning.
“More good news today from #OperationWarpSpeed: The Moderna/NIH vaccine candidate is now the second vaccine to show the potential for very high efficacy in Phase 3 trials,” Azar wrote on Twitter, adding that this is a “stunning result of President Trump’s leadership.”
Trump launched Operation Warp Speed in the spring as a multiagency partnership between the federal government and private drugmakers to produce and distribute effective vaccines and therapeutics. Azar said Warp Speed has put around $2 billion to support the Moderna vaccine.
The U.S. government has previously struck a deal with Moderna for 100 million doses, with an option to buy an additional 400 million doses.
“The Moderna/ NIH vaccine is the 2nd candidate in a week to show strong efficacy in Phase 3 trials! Congratulations Moderna, [President Trump], the #OperationWarpSpeed team and all that made this historic breakthrough possible — it will help bring an end to this terrible pandemic!” she wrote on Twitter.
Democratic President-elect Joe Biden congratulated the scientists behind the Moderna vaccine on Monday.
“Today’s news of a second vaccine is further reason to feel hopeful,” he wrote on Twitter. “What was true with the first vaccine remains true with the second: we are still months away. Until then, Americans need to continue to practice social-distancing and mask-wearing to get the virus under control.”
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said Monday his company’s coronavirus vaccine has demonstrated a “gamechanger” safety record in ongoing studies.
“People who did got our vaccine did not get any severe disease, which is of course a gamechanger,” Bancel told FOX Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria” Monday.
If it receives emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, Moderna will work with the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get the vaccines to high-risk individuals first, Bancel said.
Twenty million doses would be available by the end of the year, he told host Maria Bartiromo.
If further trials show that the vaccine is safe for students, young people who are vaccinated next summer could return to a “normal lifestyle” for the fall 2021 school year, he continued.
Bancel described the vaccine as “user-friendly” because it can last six months in a regular freezer and seven days in a refrigerator. The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, which was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing coronavirus in the companies’ Phase 3 clinical trial, must be kept in significantly colder temperatures, making it harder to distribute.
The Moderna drug is expected to cost somewhere around $32 and $37 per dose. On the company’s August earnings call, Bancel said pricing for smaller volumes will likely range between $32 and $37 per dose, while larger volumes could be lower.
In its third-quarter earnings release, Moderna said it had received more than $1.1 billion in deposits for the vaccine from governments around the world.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told the TODAY Show on Monday that the Moderna vaccine data are “striking” and “quite impressive,” and that its efficacy “foretells an impact on this outbreak.”
“This is a really strong step forward to where we want to be,” Fauci told NBC.