Today is a goody day, and it’s not because of the low number of cases.
Instead, we now know that visiting relatives during CNY2021 might be feasible given that one more vaccine has been proven to work.
Today (17 Nov), as of 12pm, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has preliminarily confirmed 6 new cases of COVID-19 infection.
Once again, they’re all imported.
This brings the total number of cases in Singapore to 58,130.
Based on yesterday’s numbers, the number of new cases in the community has remained low, with a total of 1 case in the past week, which is currently unlinked.
So, what’s the vaccine mentioned earlier?
Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine
Come the end of the year, the United States might have two effective vaccines on its hands.
Just a week after Pfizer announced its vaccine, American biotechnology company Moderna has found that their experimental vaccine is 94.5% effective in preventing Covid-19.
This was based on interim data from a late-stage trial, the company said on Monday (16 Nov).
95 trial participants who received either a vaccine or a placebo ended up getting infected.
But only five of these infections occurred in volunteers who received Moderna’s vaccine. Moreover, the 95 participants were already at increased risk for severe disease.
While 94 over 100 may not please some Asian parents if it were a Maths test, it’s a remarkable number in the vaccine world.
Before we had news of either vaccine, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US, said he would like to see an efficacy rate of 70% to 75%.
This means that it would protect at least three-quarters of people who get vaccinated from getting infected.
Similarly, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set a minimum of 50% effectiveness for a vaccine to receive emergency use approval.
So, the fact that we now have two vaccines that are over 90% effective is unexpected and almost unbelievable.
“The results are really quite good, I mean extraordinary,” Fauci said.
How Moderna’s Vaccine Works
According to Reuters, Moderna’s vaccine utilises a new technology known as messenger RNA (mRNA), which was previously unproven.
It provokes cells into making virus proteins that the immune system sees as a threat and attacks it.
And once you’ve developed an immunity, your body will instantly recognise the Covid-19 virus and attack it if it enters your system.
Side effects were mild to moderate and generally short-lived.
They included severe aches and pains after taking the second dose, as well as fatigue.
This, however, is expected of a vaccine that is inducing a strong immune response.
Why Moderna’s Vaccine May Be Better Than Pfizer’s
Besides it being more effective, Moderna’s vaccine might be easier to distribute.
See, Pfizer’s vaccine must be shipped and stored at -70 °C, and can only be stored for up to five days at standard refrigerator temperatures.
This makes distribution difficult, and storage may not be possible in poorer parts of the world.
Conversely, Moderna’s vaccine requires normal fridge temperatures of 2 to 8 °C for 30 days and can be stored for up to 6 months at -20 °C.
In addition, Moderna’s trial showed that its vaccine prevented severe cases of Covid-19, unlike Pfizer’s trial, where this remains unknown.
When Will It Be Ready?
Together with Pfizer’s vaccine, the US could have as many as 60 million doses available this year.
According to Reuters, Moderna expects to produce about 20 million doses for the US in 2020.
Millions have already been made and are ready to ship once it gets authorisation from the FDA.
In fact, if they received authorisation for emergency use, they could start shipping doses of the vaccines within hours.
They hope to produce between 500 million and 1 billion doses in 2021, depending on demand.
If this, along with Pfizer’s vaccine, gets approved, we’ll finally have something to save us from the deadly coronavirus.
Image: Jerome Quek / Shutterstock.com (Image for illustration purpose only)