“We won’t leave here without a Covid package”

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Nurse Kathe Olmstead is preparing a vaccine July 27 that is part of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., in Binghamton, New York. Hans Pennink / AP / File

Vaccine maker Moderna says its coronavirus vaccines not only prevent symptomatic illnesses, but can prevent infection in the first place.

The company has submitted an additional claim to the US Food and Drug Administration – which would put it ahead of rival Pfizer, which has failed to demonstrate that its vaccine prevents symptomatic infections, including disease. serious. From the initial data, it was not clear whether the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines completely prevented the infection.

The FDA’s own analysis of Moderna’s data confirmed the company’s claim that the vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing serious illness 14 days after the second dose. Data submitted by Moderna only looked at Covid-19 cases with symptoms and found the vaccine to be effective in reducing Covid-19 cases with severe symptoms.

Today, Moderna says it has also shown that its vaccine can prevent asymptomatic and symptomatic infections.

To determine whether the vaccine reduced the rate of overall infection, the researchers took nasal swabs from volunteers before each injection and tested them for Covid-19. Moderna’s vaccine requires two injections four weeks apart.

Moderna found among the participants who tested negative for the virus after the first swab, 14 in the vaccine group and 38 in the placebo group tested positive for Covid-19 when swabbed the second time. None showed any symptoms.

“There were approximately 2/3 fewer positive swabs in the vaccine group compared to the placebo group at the time of pre-dose 2, suggesting that some asymptomatic infections start to be avoided after the first dose,” wrote Moderna.

The company noted that it did not include this data in the initial emergency use authorization submission to the FDA because it was not available at the time. They included it as an addendum.

The FDA vaccine advisory committee will meet on Thursday to discuss the recommendation for the use of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine in people 18 years of age and older.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 40% of all Covid-19 cases have no symptoms.

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