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More hope for industry: Another COVID vaccine finishes trials

written by Hannah Dowling | November 17, 2020
Heathrow airport will begin offering rapid COVID testing for departing passengers (Source: Heathrow).

The aviation industry could soon see recovery as a second COVID-19 vaccine finishes up third-round trials, with a reported effectiveness of 95 per cent.

US drug manufacturer Moderna has announced its testing results, with company president Stephen Hoge telling the BBC he “grinned from ear-to-ear for a minute” when the results came in.

Results were reportedly based on a trial involving 30,000 people in the US.

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The trial saw just five cases of COVID-19 occur in participants who received the vaccine, versus 90 that occurred in the group that was given the placebo.

The results of the trial has seen Moderna estimate it could be up to 95 per cent effective, far more than originally hoped.

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.

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

The global rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine would serve as a lifeline to the global aviation industry, which has been decimated by the pandemic.

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Around the world, airlines have grounded near-entire fleets, hundreds of thousands of workers have been stood-down or laid off, and governments have been forced to intervene to save the flailing essential industry.

Last week, the director-general of the International Air Transport Association 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.

The IATA warned global governments on Monday that ongoing travel restrictions and quarantine requirements could hinder the industry’s ability to effectively distribute a vaccine around the globe. 

“If borders remain closed, travel curtailed, fleets grounded and employees furloughed, the capacity to deliver life-saving vaccines will be very much compromised,” the IATA said.

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