Business Insider - The vaccine's development process was unprecedentedly fast — only the team of Pfizer and BioNTech beat the biotech newcomer in announcing results from a late-stage clinical trial.
The experimental vaccine was also far more effective than expected: The Food and Drug Administration had said it would likely approve a vaccine that showed at least 50% efficacy, and Dr. Anthony Fauci had said he hoped for 70%. (AstraZeneca found its coronavirus vaccine candidate to be 70% effective on average, while Pfizer-BioNTech reported their shot is 95% effective.)
But perhaps more remarkable is that Moderna designed its vaccine in just two days in January, before some people had even heard of the coronavirus.
Messenger RNA is genetic material that tells cells how to make proteins. So Moderna's coronavirus vaccine candidate works by injecting a small piece of mRNA from the coronavirus that codes for the virus' spike protein. This protein helps the coronavirus attach to and invade cells, and it's what antibodies target and neutralize. Moderna's mRNA vaccine spurs the body to produce the spike protein internally. That, in turn, triggers an immune response.
On January 11, researchers from China published the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus. Two days later, Moderna's team and NIH scientists had finalized the targeted genetic sequence it would use in its vaccine.
Bancel downplayed the accomplishment in an interview with the New York Times.
"This is not a complicated virus," he said.
First things first, has there ever been a more out of touch doctor than Stéphane Bancel?
"This is not a complicated virus"?
Only stopped the entire planet Earth in its tracks for 10 months. I get what you're saying in terms of technicality but what a bad quote.
Secondly, and more importantly- TWO FUCKING DAYS?
You're telling me this entire dumpster fire of a year that had no end of sight in a few months ago was reconciled by Moderna scientists in just 48 hours?
I'm no conspiracy theorist (debatable) but something sounds fishy about this to me.
By February 24, Moderna had shipped out its first vaccine batches to NIH scientists in Bethesda, Maryland. Researchers administered the first dose on March 16 in Seattle, Washington. That launched the first clinical trial of any coronavirus vaccine.
Moderna's speed may lead some to wonder whether the company sacrificed thoroughness. But that's not the case, according to Albert Rizzo, chief medical officer for the American Lung Association.
"We're not skipping steps — we actually have better technology," Rizzo told Business Insider. "Why did it take two weeks to cross the Atlantic back in the 1800s? Well, we had to go on a boat. Whereas now, you can get across the ocean in several hours."
Duh. Science guys. Science + technology.
Why does it take life saving cancer drugs years and years of research and then even more years of vetting by the FDA through trials, and retrials, and retrial retrials? F̶i̶n̶a̶n̶c̶i̶a̶l̶ ̶g̶a̶i̶n̶ public safety and wellbeing. That's obviously a non-factor when there's a virus wiping out 1.4% of the people it comes in contact with. Fast track that baby and get it out to the masses.
RNA vaccines offer a big advantage: speed. Since they're produced in test tubes rather than cultivated using cells, they're quicker to produce.
But the vaccines have drawbacks. For one, they require that people get two injections. Pfizer is delivering its two shots three weeks apart, while Moderna's trial participants received two shots four weeks apart.
The vaccines are also difficult to deliver and store. Pfizer's vaccine needs to be shipped at -94 degrees Fahrenheit, which requires dry ice and special freezers. Moderna's requires a temperature of -4 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a bit colder than the average freezer.
Still, Moderna's market value has risen by over 400% since January, to more than $40 billion.
Crazy shit. In a good and bad way.
It's mindblowing how far mankind has come when it comes to technology (ahem, reverse engineered alien technology) and health sciences. It's also crazy we're expected to all be injected with something that was rushed this quickly but I guess it is what it is?