Monday brought more good news on the vaccine front, with Moderna announcing that it will seek emergency authorization for its candidate. The takeaway stat getting most of the attention is that final results suggest the two-dose vaccine is an impressive 94.1% effective. A post at Science, however, highlights a different number: The vaccine appears to be 100% effective at preventing severe cases. In the 30,000-person trial, 11 people who received the vaccine developed symptomatic COVID-19, compared with 185 who received a placebo. Of those 196 people, a total of 30 developed what was considered to be severe COVID-19, and all of them were in the placebo camp.
"I would still like to see all of the actual data, but what we’ve seen so far is absolutely remarkable," vaccine researcher Paul Offit of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia tells the outlet. His is no ordinary voice: Offit is on an independent panel that that advises the FDA. Another independent expert tells STAT News that "with evidence of high efficacy against disease and severe disease, the vaccine checks a lot of boxes." Barring any snags, it's possible the first doses could be administered as early as Dec. 21, reports the New York Times. (Pfizer's vaccine already is under emergency review by the FDA.)