CORONAVIRUS | U.S. FDA Advisory Panel Sets Stage For Moderna Vaccine Authorization

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will ‘rapidly’ work towards granting emergency approval of Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahm said on Thursday.

A panel of outside advisers to the FDA overwhelmingly endorsed the emergency use of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine on Thursday, virtually assuring a second option for protecting against COVID-19 for a pandemic ravaged nation.

The committee voted 20-0 with one abstention that the benefits of the vaccine outweighed its risks in people aged 18 and older.

A week ago, the same panel backed a vaccine from Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SE, leading to an FDA emergency use authorization (EUA) a day later.

Following Hahn’s comments, the Financial Times reported that the FDA had decided to approve Moderna’s vaccine candidate on an emergency basis. It cited people close to the process and added that the emergency approval will be granted in coming days.

The FDA and Moderna did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the Financial Times report.

The FDA si expected to grant EUA late on Thursday or Friday.

EASIER TO TRANSPORT AND STORE

Modern’a vaccine does not require specialized ultra – cold freezer or vast quantities of dry ice, unlike Pfizer’s vaccine which needs to be shipped and stored at -70 Celsius (-94F), making it easier to supply rural and remote areas. 

Moderna said on Thursday it had expanded the vaccine’s handling guidance to allow it to be moved locally in a liquid state at standard refrigerated temperatures. In some cases, Moderna said, this could be the only practical way to move it to clinics or remote locations.

U.S. officials have said they expect to have 40 million does of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines by the end of the year – enough to inoculate 20 people. Both vaccines were about 95% effective at preventing illness in pivotal clinical trials with no serious safety issues.

The first wave of doses are expected to be earmarked for healthcare workers who treat COVID-19 patients and vulnerable residents and staff of nursing homes. The Moderna vaccine, based on new synthetic messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, is administered in two shots about 28 days apart. The Pfizer/BioNTech shot is also an mRNA vaccine.

Documents prepared by FDA scientists and released ahead of the meeting, said a two – dose regimen of the Moderna vaccine was highly effective preventive in preventing COVID-19 and did not raise any specific safetly issues.

There were no cases of severe COVID-19 among those who got the vaccine in the trial versus 30 such cases in the placebo group, which could be significant as hospital intensive care units fill with infected patients.

The United States in August entered a $1.5 billion pact with Moderna to acquire 100 million does  of its vaccine.

About 20 million does are expected to be delivered this month, with the rest of the initial purchase coming in the first quarter of next year. Last week, Moderna agreed to deliver an addition 100 million doses in the second quarter.

In the global race to produce highly effective vaccines against the coronavirus, the Massachusetts – based biotech company  is reaching the finish line ahead of some much larger rival such as AstraZeneca Pla and Johnson $ Johnson.

An emergency meeting of a U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel is expected to follow the FDA’s authorization of Moderna’s vaccine with its official recommendation of its use for the U.S. public.

Saudi Energy Minister Sees Demand From Gas – To – Oil Switch At Up To 600,000 BPD

LONDON – Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said users switching from gas to oil could account for demand of 500,000 – 600,000 barrels per day (bpd), adding that the world was now waking up to shortages in the energy sector. Prince Andulaziz said the potential switch depended on how severe winter … More Saudi Energy Minister Sees Demand From Gas – To – Oil Switch At Up To 600,000 BPD

Riyadh Winter Wonderland Back In Saudi Arabia, 40 Pct Larger Than Previous Season

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia –  Riyadh Winter Wonderland is set to make a comeback in Saudi Arabia’s capital with 40 percent more space during Riyadh Season, with added games, activities, and shows for all age groups. Starting October 26 and lasting until the end of March 2022, Winter Wonderland will include more than 103 games and six areas: Dreamland Carnival, … More Riyadh Winter Wonderland Back In Saudi Arabia, 40 Pct Larger Than Previous Season

Saudi Arabia Advises Citizens Not To Travel To Lebanon – Ministry

PARIS, France – Saudi Arabia has advised its citizens not to travel to Lebanon in light of the latest security events, the foreign ministry wrote on Twitter on Sunday. Lebanon remains on  a Saudi travel list where obtaining prior permission to visit is required. On Thursday, seven people were killed in violence in Beirut  as crowd … More Saudi Arabia Advises Citizens Not To Travel To Lebanon – Ministry

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Launches Strategic Offices For Al – Baha, Al – Jouf, Jazan

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced on Sunday the launch of the strategic offices for the development of al – Baha, al – Jouf, and Jazan regions. According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), these offices aim to capitalize on the unique competitive advantages each of the three regions … More Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Launches Strategic Offices For Al – Baha, Al – Jouf, Jazan

Saudi Arabia Allows Full Capacity At Sports Stadiums, Facilities

PARIS, France – Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Sports announced that vaccinated visitors will be allowed into all sports stadium and facilities as they operate at full capacity, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported Sunday. Visitor entry will be limited to those who are  fully vaccinated against COVID – 19, as per Kingdom’s rules, the … More Saudi Arabia Allows Full Capacity At Sports Stadiums, Facilities

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