The US on Thursday moved closer to having a second vaccine to fight the COVID-19 pandemic as a federal vaccine-advisory committee recommended that the Food and Drug Administration grant an emergency-use authorization for Moderna’s vaccine.
Both Moderna’s and Pfizer’s vaccines use synthetic messenger RNA, or mRNA – a molecule that tells cells how to build proteins. They can then trick cells into producing proteins typically found in SARS CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This in turn stimulates the immune system, without making patients sick, to protect against the infection.
Unlike Pfizer’s vaccine, which needs to be stored at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit, Moderna’s can be stored between 36 an 46 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 30 days, making it more easily accessible.
All but one of the 21-member panel voted that the available evidence indicated the vaccine’s benefits outweighed its risks for people aged 18 and older, with one member abstaining.