Noubar Afeyan, Moderna co-founder and chairman, discusses the company’s new data, distribution, plan for emergency use authorization, and its advantage over a vaccine by Pfizer Inc. in an interview with Bloomberg.
“In a trial of 30,000 subjects, where we already received some 95 cases of infections. In those, 90 of them were in the population that did not receive the vaccine, and only five were the only infections that did. That is where the 94.5 percent protection comes from,” said Afeyan.
He added that if that scale translates to millions of people, the Moderna vaccine would save lives and prevent severe respiratory disease cases.
When asked for the next steps and when Moderna could file for emergency use of the vaccine, Afeyan said they are closely coordinated with the regulatory bodies and the Food and Drug Administration. He added they hope to distribute the vaccine by early December.
The Moderna chairman said they would prioritize to give the vaccine to the medical frontliners.
Afeyan said around 10 to 20 million doses would be distributed through the supply chain before the end of 2020 and around 50 million doses by the first quarter of 2021.
Moderna vaccine 94.5% effective – chairman
He also discussed the uncertainty of how many people would be hesitant to get the vaccine. However, through proper communication and information, Afeyan believes that many would avail of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Compared to Pfizer, Afeyan said that Moderna’s innovations enable it to “keep the vaccine under refrigeration conditions for up to 30 days,” enabling broad distribution.
“For 12 hours, we can have it on room temperature sitting on a table. We want to take the pressure off the distribution,” Afeyan said.
“We don’t want 10 vials to go bad because people don’t approach them properly.”
Like Pfizer, the Moderna vaccine would also come in two doses, making the distribution a challenge.
Afeyan said they decided to have the vaccine in two doses to give people the highest protection level.