Tags: Coronavirus | Moderna | COVID | vaccine | pandemic

Dr. David Samadi: Moderna's COVID Vaccine Adds to Confidence of Ending Pandemic

a vial an syringe in front of the moderna logo
(Photo by STR/NurPhoto via AP)

By Thursday, 19 November 2020 09:36 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Within a span of just one week, the fate of the coronavirus pandemic is suddenly transforming to tentative hopefulness of better days ahead.

This week, drug maker Moderna took the stage announcing positive preliminary results from their large trial testing a vaccine showing an impressive 94.5% effectiveness. Last week, Pfizer was the first drug company to report good news regarding their vaccine protecting against COVID-19 at 90% effectiveness. This puts both drug companies' vaccines far exceeding the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) requirement that coronavirus vaccines must be at least 50% effective to be approved.

What do we know about Moderna's vaccine?

Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Moderna collaborated on developing this vaccine with researchers from the Vaccine Research Center, part of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

Moderna's human trial involving 30,000 U.S. citizens began on July 27 (the same date as Pfizer's human trial.) Researchers were mindful of choosing ethnically diverse participants that included 37 percent from communities of color (Hispanic, Black, Asian or multiracial) and 42 percent from high risk populations of participants over age 65 or who had co-morbidities of diabetes, obesity or heart disease. The study did not include children but is planning to test them in the coming months, starting with adolescents.

The study was conducted by inoculating some participants with the vaccine while other participants received a placebo of saltwater. After observing to see if participants became sick, the results showed that 95 people contracted COVID-19. Of those who got the virus, five had received the vaccine while the other 90 received the placebo of which 11 of those in the placebo group, developed severe cases of the virus.

The vaccine Moderna has developed is considered an "RNA vaccine." A synthetic version of coronavirus genetic material or code, called messenger RNA or mRNA, is injected as a vaccine into a patient. This process starts the making of viral proteins, which prompts the immune system to produce antibodies and to activate T-cells to destroy infected cells. If the patient encounters coronavirus, the antibodies and T-cells are triggered to fight it off with their target being the spike proteins on the coronavirus used to invade human cells.

Doses of Moderna's vaccine are two injections given four weeks apart. This vaccine does require to be stored and transported at very low temperatures of minus-4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees Celsius), possibly complicating its distribution to those living in hot climates and low-income areas. However, Moderna's vaccine can also be kept refrigerated up to 30 days and at room temperature for up to 12 hours making ease of storage and use for doctor's offices, clinics and pharmacies, more attractive.

At this time, it is not known how long immunity lasts from this vaccine as the study volunteers will have to be followed for a longer period of time before that can be determined. Side effects of the vaccine included fatigue, muscle aches and injection-site pain after the second dose.

When will it be available?

Right now, Moderna, like Pfizer, plans to apply within weeks to the FDA for emergency authorization to begin vaccinating the public. Between the two companies, enough vaccine could be made and available for more than 20 million Americans anticipated by the end of December. The most likely first recipients of a coronavirus vaccine will be healthcare workers, emergency medical workers and nursing home residents.

Moderna is hoping to produce 500 million to one billion doses available for use around the world next year and is planning to seek approval in other countries, too.

Is a pandemic ending in sight?

The good news is that  all past pandemics eventually came to an end. Unfortunately, predicting when the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic will be over with remains unknown.

But back to good news; To have two major drug companies make back-to-back announcements of highly effective vaccines protecting against COVID-19 and likely available by the end of the year, is a dose of optimism our country welcomes. Even the stock market rallied, hitting record highs with Moderna's huge announcement.

The results from both Pfizer's and now Moderna's trial studies indicate that these vaccines appear to not only prevent contracting COVID-19 but also for reducing severe cases of it.

Operation Warp Speed, under the leadership of both President Donald Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence, are to be highly commended for their unending optimism and unfailing confidence in researchers at pharmaceutical giants such as Pfizer and Moderna, to bring to the world a way out of the pandemic.

As a nation, we have fought this virus long and hard. Unfortunately, once again, hospitals are being overwhelmed, some cities and states are reinstating lockdowns, restricting gatherings, closing schools and even discouraging holiday celebrations. And now with the coronavirus in the U.S. topping more than 11 million virus cases over the weekend and more than 246,000 citizens who have died from it, a vaccine can't come fast enough.

Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men's Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He's a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi's Guide to Men's Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi's websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911. Read Dr. David Samadi's Reports – More Here.

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Within a span of just one week, the fate of the coronavirus pandemic is suddenly transforming to tentative hopefulness of better days ahead.
Moderna, COVID, vaccine, pandemic
Thursday, 19 November 2020 09:36 AM
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