The UK government has ordered five million doses of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine, which has been found to be 94.5 per cent effective in preliminary trials.
US biotech firm, Moderna, has revealed its trial results for the new Covid-19 vaccine. The news comes just one week after Pfizer revealed its vaccine to be 90 per cent effective.
When could the Moderna vaccine be available?
The Moderna vaccine - if it proves safe - is expected to be rolled out across the UK by spring 2021.
Although Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that “great advances of medical science are coming to the rescue,” he added that Moderna's results are “preliminary, the safety data is limited and their production facilities are not yet at scale."
Mr Hancock added, "While there is much uncertainty, we can see the candle of hope and we must do all we can to nurture its flame.
"But we're not there yet. Until the science can make us safe, we must remain vigilant and keep following the rules that we know can keep this virus under control."
Addressing the Moderna vaccine’s efficacy rate, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said, "It's brilliant news, absolutely brilliant. It's the second penalty now that's also gone into the back of the net, so we're starting to feel in a better position."
What is different about the Moderna vaccine?
The Moderna vaccine is just one of seven candidate vaccines that the UK has secured, which totals more than 355 million doses overall.
It differs from the Pfizer vaccine, of which the UK has ordered 40 million doses, in that it can be stored in a relatively easy way.
The Moderna vaccine has been shown to last for up to 30 days in household fridges and at room temperature for up to 12 hours. It also remains stable at -20C (the temperature of most household or medical freezers) for up to six months.
In comparison, the Pfizer vaccine - which was announced last week to be 90 per effective - needs to be stored at around -70C.