PFIZER and Moderna are likely to be the first companies to see their respective vaccines authorized in the United States, possibly before the end of this year.
Moderna Inc’s experimental vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing Covid-19 based on interim data from a late-stage trial, and as a result, becomes the second US drugmaker to report results that far exceed expectations.
Together with Pfizer Inc’s vaccine, which is also more than 90% effective; pending more safety data and regulatory reviews, the United States could have two vaccines authorized for emergency use in December with as many as 60 million doses of vaccine available this year.
Though their journeys to a COVID-19 vaccine are similar, the companies could not be more different.
Pfizer is a multinational pharmaceutical giant, while Moderna is a small biotechnology company that has never brought a drug to the market.
Yet when the COVID-19 pandemic began, both companies bet big on a brand-new vaccine technology called mRNA.
Moderna had been working on the technology for years, while Pfizer partnered with a smaller German biotechnology company BioNTech for its mRNA research.
Both vaccines use the same approach of injecting part of the virus’s genetic code in order to provoke an immune response.
The preliminary data is very similar – around 90% protection for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and around 95% for Moderna’s.
However, both trials are still taking place and the final numbers could change.