Success in COVID-19 trials could impact how vaccines are made beyond pandemic

Success in COVID-19 trials could impact how vaccines are made beyond pandemic
Posted at 3:12 PM, Nov 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 14:20:58-05

Moderna is asking American regulators to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine. It says its final results show the vaccine is 94% effective.

The drug maker says it had 196 COVID-19 cases so far in its study. It says 185 of those participants received the placebo, while 11 got the real vaccine. The 30 people who became seriously ill in the trial didn't get the vaccine.

FDA advisors are expected to look at all the evidence on December 17. They'll be checking out Pfizer’s vaccine on December 10.

Pfizer and Moderna's success with their COVID-19 trials could impact how vaccines are made in the future.

It has to do with how they work. They use what's called messenger RNA (mRNA) technology. The virus' genetic code is injected into the body so it can instruct cells on what antibodies to produce.

It hasn't been approved to be used in a commercial vaccine before.

“In the future, it's clearly going to be tough to beat RNA vaccines for speed and that's a wonderful thing. Just this demonstration of how incredibly fast they can move has been great. How effective they can be, I think will depend on a particular disease,” said Shane Crotty, Ph.D. with the La Jolla Institute for Immunology.

Crotty says the narrowest application for this vaccine technology in the future is a similar situation where there's a new emerging virus.

"The mRNA vaccine has been tried for other infectious diseases and they have been investigated for cancer. There's a whole area of trying to vaccine against cancer, which has kind of been an elusive target,” said Dr. Alessandro Sette with the La Jolla Institute for Immunology.

A big question with an mRNA vaccine is how long its protection will last. While there is encouraging findings, there's no historical comparison to look at.

A big thing experts say has helped with a vaccine is there has been a lot of money put towards manufacturing before we even knew it would work.

Click here to learn more about mRNA vaccines.

Coronavirus in Wisconsin

More data on Wisconsin's vaccination progress here.

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More information: COVID-19 on the Wisconsin DHS website

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