Moderna vaccine is 94.5% effective!

Christopher Joye

Coolabah Capital

In more terrific news overnight, Moderna Inc. revealed that its "experimental coronavirus vaccine was 94.5% effective at protecting people from COVID-19 in an early look at pivotal study results, the second vaccine to hit a key milestone in U.S. testing" the WSJ reported

Dr. Anthony Fauci responded, “I would be satisfied with a 75 percent effective vaccine. Aspirationally, you would like to see 90, 95 percent, but I wasn’t expecting it. I thought we’d be good, but 94.5 percent is very impressive.” 

The New York Times reported that Natalie E. Dean, a biostatistician at the University of Florida, said "an important finding was that the vaccine appeared to prevent severe disease".

These results are even stronger than the encouraging Pfizer vaccine findings, which claimed more than 90% efficacy, and mean that the two messenger RNA vaccines could inoculate up to 40 million Americans by the end of 2020.

One important advantage of the Moderna solution is that it can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 30 days, and is easier to distribute than Pfizer's vaccine, which requires much colder temperatures. The FT explains:

Moderna said it expected the vaccine could be shipped and stored for up to six months at minus 20C, and then remain stable once thawed for 30 days if refrigerated at between 2C and 8C. In contrast, the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine must be transported at minus 75C and can survive in a normal fridge for only five days, making it potentially more complicated to distribute.

This news further validates Coolabah's long-held contrarian central case that effective COVID-19 vaccines will be approved in 2020, which the consensus widely dismissed, arguing instead that tractable vaccines would take at least 18 to 24 months---if ever---to develop. You might recall the many counter-arguments that vaccines had never been developed for AIDS or a coronavirus before.

The WSJ provides some more detail on the Moderna news:  

The findings, from a 30,000-subject trial that is still under way, move the vaccine closer to wide use, because they indicate it is effective at preventing disease that causes symptoms, including severe cases.
The vaccine also showed signs of being safe, though researchers and regulators must wait for more-complete safety data from the study, expected later in November. Moderna said it plans to ask federal health authorities by early December to clear the vaccine…If greenlighted, the shot could go into distribution that month, making it one of the first Covid-19 vaccines to go into distribution in the U.S., where reported coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are surging
If regulators do authorize the vaccine, the initial supply of doses will be limited—20 million, or enough for 10 million people, by the end of the year, Moderna forecasts. If the Pfizer vaccine is also authorized, federal officials said Monday they expect to be able to immunize about 20 million Americans during December…
Moderna is working with contract manufacturers to boost production so it can make 500 million to one billion doses next year. Its U.S. contract has an option for 400 million doses in addition to the initial 100 million. Moderna also plans to seek authorization in other countries, and has signed supply contracts with several.

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Portfolio Manager & Chief Investment Officer
Coolabah Capital

Chris co-founded Coolabah in 2011, which today runs over $8 billion with a team of 26 executives focussed on generating credit alpha from mispricings across fixed-income markets. In 2019, Chris was selected as one of FE fundinfo’s Top 10 “Alpha...

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