"Cautiously encouraging" — that's how University at Buffalo says scientists feel about new COVID-19 vaccines that are showing over 90-percent effective rates.
Two vaccines that potentially have the power to end the wrath of the coronavirus are close to becoming available. So far, the data shows that Pfizer has a 90% protection rate and Moderna has shown a 95% protection rate.
"What's very encouraging is that with Moderna vaccine, of the individuals that were infected, 11 of them developed severe disease. All of those individuals were in the placebo group. The number is small but it suggests the vaccine protects against the development of disease," said Dr. Thomas Russo, an infectious disease expert at the University at Buffalo.
Pfizer was tested on 43,000 people in two doses, three weeks apart. Developers say no safety concerns were raised. Moderna was tested on 30,000 people also in two doses but four weeks apart.
"Both are RNA vaccines, both showed very similar results, suggesting that these results will likely hold up as the trial goes to completion and we get additional data," Russo said.
Both vaccines use the same approach of injecting part of the virus' genetic code into your system in order to provoke an immune response. This means your antibodies and T-cells will be triggered to fight the coronavirus. Russo says before the vaccines can be approved, people in the trial need to have been vaccinated for two months.
"We're about a week or two away from that, so if the safety signal looks good and if the data looks as good as its been advertised in these press releases, there is hope that we may have a vaccine by the end of the year or the latest early 2021," Russo added.
Trials are still taking place and the final numbers could change, but Russo says positive preliminary results is a good sign.