Moderna Says Its Coronavirus Vaccine Trial Produced ‘Robust’ Immune Response In All Patients

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Written by Ann Brown
Moderna
Biotechnology company Moderna has announced that its coronavirus vaccine trial produced “robust” immune response in all patients. Photo: In this March 16, 2020, file photo, Neal Browning receives a shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. The first experimental COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. is on track to begin a huge study next month to prove if it really can fend off the coronavirus, its manufacturer announced Thursday, June 11 — a long-awaited step in the global vaccine race. The vaccine, developed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., will be tested in 30,000 volunteers — some given the real shot and some a dummy shot. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Biotechnology company Moderna says that its potential vaccine to prevent covid-19 produced a “robust” immune response in all 45 patients in its early stage human trial. The announcement sparked a more than 16 percent jump in the firm’s shares.

The company released its vaccine data in the peer-reviewed New England Journal of Medicine on July 14.

All of the patients produced neutralizing antibodies, which scientists theorize is important for building immunity against the virus. Each of the trial participants received a 25, 100, or 250 microgram dose, with 15 people in each dose group, CNBC reported. The patients received two doses of the potential vaccine.

“These Phase 1 data demonstrate that vaccination with mRNA-1273 elicits a robust immune response across all dose levels and clearly support the choice of 100 µg in a prime and boost regimen as the optimal dose for the Phase 3 study,” Moderna’s chief medical officer, Tal Zaks, said in a statement. “We look forward to beginning our Phase 3 study of mRNA-1273 this month to demonstrate our vaccine’s ability to significantly reduce the risk of COVID-19 disease.”

As far as side effects, Moderna said more than half of the participants reported mild or moderate symptoms such as fatigue, muscle aches, or pain at the injection site.

Moderna is one of several companies working on a potential vaccine for covid-19, which has infected more than 13 million people and killed at least 573,200 across the globe as of July 14, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. In fact, there are more than 100 vaccines under development globally, according to the World Health Organization.

“Moderna’s experimental vaccine contains genetic material called messenger RNA, or mRNA. The mRNA is a genetic code that tells cells what to build — in this case, an antigen that may induce an immune response to the virus. It became the first candidate to enter a phase 1 human trial in March,” CNBC reported.

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According to Moderna, it is on track to be able to deliver around 500 million doses or more per year in 2021, Reuters reported. 

A vaccine would also be a financial win for the company.

“When you’re giving a vaccine to otherwise healthy people, safety is paramount. So the most important takeaway is that the 100-microgram dose, which is going into phase 3 trial, was safe,” said Piper Sandler analyst Edward Tenthoff, who estimated the vaccine could generate revenues of $12.5 billion to $25 billion.