New Delhi: An influential Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel, after an eight-hour debate, has overwhelmingly backed Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use approval (EUA), providing another ray of hope to the US that has lost 310,095 lives due to COVID-19.  The development comes nearly a week after the same panel endorsed Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine in a 19-4 vote. Also Read - No New UK Coronavirus Strain Reported in Past 24 Hours in India: Health Ministry

FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) voted 20-0 in favour of getting Moderna’s shots into the arms of Americans who are 18 years old and older, with one expert abstaining. Moderna’s vaccine is based on the same technology as Pfizer’s – mRNA. If Moderna’s vaccine is approved by the FDA, it will become the second shot to be greenlighted in America. Also Read - Planning a Trip to Singapore During COVID-19? Now, PCR Test Mandatory on Arrival

The Moderna vaccine was more than 94 per cent effective overall at preventing COVID-19 illness, and 86 per cent effective in people 65 and older. Moderna’s safety data is based on an interim analysis of approximately 30,350 participants over 18 years of age randomized 1:1 to vaccine or placebo with a median of 7 weeks of follow-up after the second dose. Also Read - Maharashtra: No Fine For Not Wearing Masks Inside Private Vehicles, BMC Issues New Guidelines | Deets Inside

According to the reports, distribution of about six million doses of the Moderna vaccine (following the go-ahead by the FDA) could begin next week, significantly adding to the millions of doses already being shipped by Pfizer and BioNTech.

The US government had signed deals last summer with Moderna and Pfizer to deliver a total of 200 million doses in the first quarter of 2021. Both vaccines require two doses and those contracts guaranteed enough doses for 100 million people.

Last week the US government announced that it had purchased another 100 million doses from Moderna for the second quarter, increasing the number of Americans who can be vaccinated to 150 million, the New York Times report said. Both vaccines will be provided to the public free of charge.

(With agency inputs)