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New COVID vaccine 95% effective, say makers

written by Adam Thorn | November 17, 2020
The Airbus A350-900ULR has maximum takeoff weight of 280 tonnes. (Airbus)
The Airbus A350-900ULR has maximum takeoff weight of 280 tonnes. (Airbus)

A second COVID vaccine to report on its performance is 95 per cent effective, according to its manufacturer Moderna.

Company president Stephen Hoge told the BBC he “grinned from ear-to-ear for a  minute” when the results came in that were based on a trial involving 30,000 people in the US.

The news comes after a separate vaccine developed by global pharmaceutical giant Pfizer claimed to be “90 per cent effective” and could begin being rolled out worldwide by the end of the year.

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The new vaccine, not purchased by Australia unlike the first, found only five of the cases that appeared in the trial group came in people who were vaccinated.

The other 90 emerged in those that took the fake medication. Its results have led Moderna to estimate it could be 95 per cent effective, far more than originally hoped.

Last week, Pfizer chief executive Dr Albert Bourla said his vaccination would “help bring an end to this global health crisis”.

COVID has been the biggest crisis Australian aviation has seen. In June, the wider Qantas group said it would cut 6,000 jobs altogether, or nearly 20 per cent of its workforce, and later revealed a further 2,500 ground handling jobs could be lost.

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The drastic cuts followed the business’ full-year financial results showing a loss before tax of $2.7 billion and an underlying profit before tax of just $124 million.

Virgin, meanwhile, went into administration before cutting 3,000 jobs and axing the Tigerair brand.

The director-general of the International Air Transport Association has said aviation’s recovery has “hit a wall” after new figures revealed passenger traffic has flatlined.

“A resurgence in COVID-19 outbreaks – particularly in Europe and the US – combined with governments’ reliance on the blunt instrument of quarantine in the absence of globally aligned testing regimes, has halted momentum toward re-opening borders to travel,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.

Total demand in September was still down 73 per cent from the same month last year, a minuscule improvement from being down 75 per cent from August.

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