The investigational NIH-Moderna COVID-19 vaccine mRNA-1273 has been found to be safe and effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in adults.
This is according to the interim results reviewed by an independent data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) overseeing the Phase III trial of the investigational COVID-19 vaccine mRNA-1273.
The interim analysis comprised 95 cases of symptomatic COVID-19 among volunteers. The DSMB reported that the candidate was safe and well-tolerated and noted a vaccine efficacy rate of 94.5%. The findings are statistically significant, meaning they are likely not due to chance. 90 of the cases occurred in the placebo group and five occurred in the vaccinated group. There were 11 cases of severe COVID-19 out of the 95 total, all of which occurred in the placebo group.
The mRNA-1273 vaccine candidate was co-developed by the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. It combines Moderna’s mRNA (messenger RNA) delivery platform with the stabilised SARS-CoV-2 spike immunogen (S-2P) developed by NIAID scientists.
The vaccine candidate transitioned from early development with NIAID to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, for advanced development and manufacturing support, to meet the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed (OWS) goals.
The Phase III vaccine efficacy trial, known as COVE, was begun under OWS, a multi-agency collaboration led by HHS and the Department of Defense that aims to accelerate the development, manufacturing and distribution of medical countermeasures for COVID-19. The Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) partnership advised on the trial protocol design and endpoints to ensure a harmonized approach across multiple vaccine efficacy trials. The partnership brings NIH together with other HHS agencies and government partners and representatives from academia, philanthropic organizations, and numerous biopharmaceutical companies to develop a coordinated research strategy for prioritizing and speeding development of the most promising treatments and vaccines
More than 30,000 participants at 100 clinical research sites in the United States are participating in the study, which launched on July 27, 2020, after results from earlier stage clinical testing indicated that the vaccine candidate is well-tolerated and immunogenic. Recognising the disproportionate impact of the epidemic on underrepresented minority populations, investigators worked with community engagement partners to enrol a diverse pool of participants. 37% of trial volunteers are from racial and ethnic minorities.