COVID-19

Moderna says it can start analyzing how well its COVID-19 vaccine works

David Brancaccio, Nancy Marshall-Genzer, and Alex Schroeder Nov 12, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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Biotechnology company Moderna protocol files for COVID-19 vaccinations are kept at the Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Fla., on Aug. 13, 2020. Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Moderna says it can start analyzing how well its COVID-19 vaccine works

David Brancaccio, Nancy Marshall-Genzer, and Alex Schroeder Nov 12, 2020
Biotechnology company Moderna protocol files for COVID-19 vaccinations are kept at the Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Fla., on Aug. 13, 2020. Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
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Just days after Pfizer said its COVID vaccination was more than 90% effective, Moderna says it’s moving to a new phase of testing and analysis for its vaccine.

Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall-Genzer has the news. The following is an edited transcript of her conversation with “Marketplace Morning Report” host David Brancaccio.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer: You have to have a certain number of infections before you can determine if a vaccine is effective. In Moderna’s vaccine trial, half of the 30,000 participants got the vaccine. The other half got a placebo. Moderna says around 50 of the volunteers have now gotten COVID-19. So, now it will analyze how many of them received the vaccine versus the placebo.

David Brancaccio: And what kind of vaccine is this one?

Marshall-Genzer: It’s the same type Pfizer is making. They’re not like a typical vaccine, which involves injecting inactivated virus into a patient. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use messenger RNA. The vaccine prompts the body to produce COVID-19’s spike protein. A person’s immune system then learns to attack and destroy it.

Brancaccio: OK, so apparent progress, but distribution is a big hurdle.

Marshall-Genzer: That could be a challenge, at least in developing countries. These vaccines need to be kept very cold, below freezing. That’s not such a problem in the U.S., but could be difficult in other nations. Moderna has already agreed to supply 100 million doses to the U.S.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Are states ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?

Claire Hannan, executive director of the nonprofit Association of Immunization Managers, which represents state health officials, said states have been making good progress in their preparations. And we could have several vaccines pretty soon. But states still need more funding, she said. Hannan doesn’t think a lack of additional funding would hold up distribution initially, but it could cause problems down the road. “It’s really worrisome that Congress may not pass funding or that there’s information circulating saying that states don’t need additional funding,” she said.

How is the service industry dealing with the return of coronavirus restrictions?

Without another round of something like the Paycheck Protection Program, which kept a lot of businesses afloat during the pandemic’s early stages, the outlook is bleak for places like restaurants. Some in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, only got one week of indoor dining back before cases rose and restrictions went back into effect. Restaurant owners are revamping their business models in an effort to survive while waiting to see if they’ll be able to get more aid.

How are hospitals handling the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases?

As the pandemic surges and more medical professionals themselves are coming down with COVID, nearly 1 in 5 hospitals in the country report having a critical shortage of staff, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the knock-on effects of staff shortages is that people who have other medical needs are being asked to wait.

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