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Source: istock, Moderna

Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine — All You Need to Know

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Moderna announced the results of the Phase 3 trials for its COVID-19 vaccine. The results show that Moderna's vaccine is 94.5 percent effective. The markets jumped on Nov. 16 due to hope about the vaccine. While the Dow Jones climbed 1.6 percent and hit a new high, the S&P 500 gained nearly 1.2 percent. Stock markets across the world saw positive sentiments. 

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Source: istock

The COVID-19 vaccine still won't be available for everyone globally for months, but the initial results are promising. Last week, Pfizer also announced that its vaccine is 90 percent effective. However, investors and the general public have some questions. When will Moderna start vaccine production? What is the vaccine dosage? What are the side-effects of the vaccine?

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Is Moderna a U.S. company?

Moderna is one of the frontrunners in the race to find a vaccine for the coronavirus. Moderna is a U.S. biotechnology company headquartered in Cambridge, Mass. The company was founded in 2010. Since then, Moderna has been working on drug discovery and development.  

Moderna's vaccine production

Moderna has been in the limelight in 2020 for developing a COVID-19 vaccine. Due to the early success in developing a vaccine, which could help end the coronavirus pandemic, Moderna's share price has more than quadrupled this year. 

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On Nov. 16, Moderna released the results of the Phase 3 trials for its experimental vaccine. The company confirmed that the vaccine was 94.5 percent effective in preventing COVID-19. The vaccine has a very high rate of effectiveness and exceeds the expectations of most experts in the field. Moderna’s president told BBC News, “I don't think any of us really hoped that the vaccine would be 94 percent effective at preventing Covid-19 disease, that was really a stunning realization.”

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Moderna’s successful vaccine trials come shortly after Pfizer and its German partner’s vaccine results, which were announced on Nov. 9. Pfizer's vaccine is more than 90 percent effective. These two late-stage vaccine trial results have given people and markets hope that the coronavirus pandemic will end. 

Comparing the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use new technology. The technology uses a synthetic version of a molecule called messenger RNA (mRNA). Through this technology, human cells are effectively turned into vaccine-making factories. However, there are a few important differences between the vaccines. 

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While Moderna’s vaccine can remain stable at a standard freezer temperature of -20 degrees Celsius for 30 days, Pfizer’s vaccine needs deep freezer conditions of -70 degrees Celsius. The freezing requirements will make transporting the vaccine complicated. The other major difference between the two vaccines is that Moderna’s vaccine has three times more genetic material per dose than Pfizer’s. This would raise the cost of production for Moderna, which will make it difficult to scale-up the production in a short amount of time.

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Does the Moderna vaccine have side effects?

Usually, no medicine or vaccine is without a few side effects. Moderna’s data showed that a small fraction of the people who got the vaccine experienced symptoms including fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and redness at the injection site. The company claimed that people only experienced short-term side effects. 

There are still some unanswered questions including how long the immunity from the vaccine will last. Also, it isn't known if a vaccinated person can still infect other people. 

What are the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine doses?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are administered in two doses and spaced a few weeks apart. While Pfizer’s vaccine would need a second dose after 21 days, Moderna’s second dose would be given four weeks after the first one. 

Moderna will apply to U.S. regulators for emergency use authorization in the coming weeks. The company expects to have 20 million doses ready by the end of the year for shipping within the U.S. Moderna also hopes to have one billion doses next year for use around the world. 

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