Moderna is the second pharmaceutical company to apply for emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Europe regulators for its COVID vaccine, CNN reported Tuesday.
Debra Goff, an infectious diseases specialist at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, defines "emergency use authorization" as permission from the administration commissioner "to authorize the use of an unapproved medical product or an unapproved use of an approved medical product during a declared health emergency."
Moderna said clinical tests of 30,000 subjects show its treatment is more than 94% effective at protecting patients from becoming seriously sick with the virus.
The results follow the 94.5% efficacy rate that the Massachusetts-based pharma reported two weeks earlier, based on its first interim evaluation of trial data. Of the 196 COVID cases in the test, 185 were given a placebo and 11 with the actual vaccine, it said.
Similar to Pfizer's experimental treatment, Moderna's vaccine uses a so-called messenger RNA to track down the virus' spike protein and then produce an immune reaction.
According to Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the administration's vaccine advisory panel, Moderna's results are "striking" and "amazing data."
Dr. Tal Zaks, Moderna's chief medical officer, said he became emotional when he saw the data. "It's the first time that I let myself cry...we have a full expectation to change the course of this pandemic," CNN quoted him as saying.
Moderna said it is optimistic the UK will grant an emergency approval soon, now that its trial data proved positive. The company has yet to release its full trial data but will be published in a peer-examined journal in due course.
If the figures are accurate, infectious disease expert Eric Rubin said it would be "more than we would need for the vaccine to be a major control measure for the outbreak," VOX reported.