Coronavirus: Moderna has had effective Covid-19 vaccine since January

Handforth
(Image credit: Metro)

The world celebrated last month after Moderna’s long-awaited coronavirus vaccine candidate was found to be 94.5% effective in early clinical results.

But according to New York Magazine, the US pharmaceutical giant finished designing that very same vaccine back on 13 January - just two days after the genetic sequence of the virus had been made public and more than a week before the first confirmed coronavirus case in the US.

The vaccine design reportedly “took all of one weekend” to develop and “was completed before China had even acknowledged that the disease could be transmitted from human to human”.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

And by the time the US reported its first Covid-related death, in February, the Moderna vaccine had “already been manufactured and shipped to the National Institutes of Health for the beginning of its Phase I clinical trial”, the mag continues.

Although the speed of the development effort means that “for the entire span of the pandemic… the US had the tools needed to prevent it”, experts agree that completing intensive trials is vital for the safe rollout of any vaccine.

But as Politico’s London Playbook Emilio Casalicchio notes, “if we had taken a punt and started handing it out (unthinkable, of course), we could be in a different world now”.

Since posting the trial results in November, Moderna has submitted its vaccine candidate for regulatory approval in the US and the EU, “making it the second Western vaccine maker on track to start distribution in December”, the Financial Times reports.

The company says the trial data has also been sent to “regulators where it is already under rolling review, including in the UK”, the paper adds.

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us