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Why Moderna’s vaccine win is a giant leap against pandemics

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The world now seems likely to have at least two effective vaccines against COVID-19 with Monday’s announcement of positive early data from Moderna Therapeutics Inc.’s 30,000-person clinical trial.

The result came a week after Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE revealed a protection rate of more than 90% protection against disease. Moderna slightly one-upped its rivals, estimating that its shot is 94.5% effective at preventing COVID-19. Both results are highly impressive for inoculations developed at historic speed.

The second success is crucial. Manufacturing constraints mean the world needs multiple vaccines if it hopes to contain the virus. However, as promising as the vaccine news is for the fight against COVID-19, it also offers hope for our ability to respond more quickly to future pandemics. Both leading vaccines use the same promising messenger RNA technology, and their combined excellent early results suggest the world has a crucial new tool to respond quickly to diseases. Moderna shares, reflecting optimism about both its vaccine and the long-term promise of its other mRNA efforts, jumped 16% in early trading. The broader market also got a lift.

There are still unanswered questions about these vaccines. And even with two likely to become available relatively soon, the pandemic is so severe in the U.S. and Europe, and early........

© The Japan Times

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