Understanding Moderna’s Covid-19 Vaccine Trial Results

New press release data reveals a broadly effective vaccine that could be approved by the end of the year

Jesse Smith, MD
Medium Coronavirus Blog
3 min readNov 30, 2020

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Image: The New York Times

As people return to work after a holiday weekend, another bright spot in the race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine has emerged. In a press release, pharmaceutical company Moderna released the final results of its phase three COVE trial, indicating that its experimental mRNA-1273 vaccine is more than 94% effective against Covid-19.

The firm has begun the process of approval in various countries including the U.S. A meeting with the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is set for December 17. This meeting will evaluate the safety data of the vaccine — a key hurdle in the FDA’s approval process.

What does the data show?

mRNA-1273 is effective in preventing Covid-19 infections

  • Participants: 30,000
  • Total Covid-19 cases: 196
  • Total cases in the placebo group: 185
  • Total cases in the vaccine group: 11

The results of this study revealed an efficacy rate of 94.1%. These results were consistent across a range of demographics including age, race, and gender.

mRNA-1273 is effective in preventing severe Covid-19 cases

  • Total number of severe Covid-19 cases: 30
  • Total number of severe cases in the vaccine group: 0

Severe Covid-19 cases were defined in the clinical trial protocol as:

  • Vitals: respiratory rate ≥ 30/minute, heart rate ≥ 125 bpm, oxygen saturation ≤ 93% on room air
  • Evidence of respiratory failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) or shock OR
  • Acute renal failure OR
  • Admission to ICU or death
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) or shock or acute renal failure or admission to ICU or death

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Jesse Smith, MD
Medium Coronavirus Blog

Physician and molecular biologist. I write about science, medicine, vaccines and dogs…yes dogs.