The U.S. biotech company Moderna has created a vaccine using mRNA technology. This is a technique that introduces laboratory-synthesised genetic material into human cells so that they learn to produce a protein, in this case, the Spike protein, which is found in the cover of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In this way, the cells are made to manufacture copies of this protein and create antibodies to achieve immunity against the virus.
The pharmaceutical company started its clinical trials in March 2020 and published its results on 16 November, with the participation of 30,420 volunteers from the United States. From these tests, the company concluded that its vaccine achieved 94,5% of efficacy.
Moderna’s vaccine is administered in a 2-dose series separated by 28 days. More than 40 countries have authorised its use, including the US, Canada, and those of the European Union, as well as the WHO.
The most commonly reported side effects are pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, chills, nausea or vomiting, swelling, fever, swelling at the puncture site, and reddening of the skin.
Nausea, vomiting, chills and fever are also considered very frequent side effects (affecting more than one in 10 people). Infrequent (one in 1,000) side effects may be paralysis or swelling of the face. The frequency with which it can cause a severe allergic reaction or hypersensitivity is unknown.
Moderna vaccine can be stored in a special freezer at a temperature ranging from -25ºC to -15ºC. It can also be stored for up to one month at 2ºC to 8ºC. The vials can be kept for up to 12 hours between 8°C to 25°C, but then they cannot be refrozen.
The Japanese biopharmacy company Takeda reached in October an agreement with Moderna and the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to distribute 50 million doses during the first half of 2021 under the TAK-919 name. On 21 May 2021, Takeda announced the approval of the formula by the Japanese Government, and informed that the distribution would immediately start.
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