Everything We Know About Moderna's Coronavirus Vaccine
Speculation in shares of companies developing therapies for COVID-19 has gotten so rampant that it doesn't take much news to cause dramatic moves in stock prices. This week's Moderna readout came from the earliest of data from the NIAID-led Phase 1.
The vaccine, referred to in scientific communities as mRNA-1273, was tested on male and female patients between the ages of 18 and 55 in March and April.
Moderna also has received a commitment of up to $483 million from BARDA, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority of the Department of Health and Human Services, to fund its vaccine program.
The bank is also adding $11 per share "related to higher probability of success across the vaccine platform given the continuing encouraging results" and the updated vaccine candidate timeline of six to nine more months, from three to four more years. Problem is, what's really important for an effective vaccine is its ability to generate "neutralizing" antibodies that actually prevent the virus from infecting healthy cells.
What's the earliest it could be ready?
Talking about vaccines, it is generally known that it would take years and several breakthroughs to be able to find the right formula for the vaccine to work for the entire human population. The benefit of this kind of vaccine is that it is lower risk, as it doesn't require inducing the actual coronavirus in an attenuated form. The researchers found that at two lower dose levels used in the study, levels of antibodies found after getting a second booster shot of the vaccine either equaled or exceeded the levels of antibodies found in patients who had recovered from the virus. Neutralizing antibodies alone are unlikely to satisfy the agency's reviewers, who could very well expect Moderna to show in the phase 3 trial that the vaccine protects patients for a significant amount of time after infection, he predicted.
Major averages fell to session lows in the wake of a report from STAT News that questioned the validity of the results of Moderna's vaccine trial, which the company had announced Monday. The stock market surged in reaction to the hope that a vaccine could be on the horizon.
As with any vaccine, the goal with coronavirus is to get the immune system to produce antibodies that can eliminate the virus.
The company said it hopes to proceed to a Phase 3 trial in July.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has a group called the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization who will oversee the distribution and administration of the vaccine. A traditional vaccine uses injected viruses, either alive or dead, to spark the antibody response.
In other news, Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren during a CNBC interview cautioned that businesses reopening may be "premature" as Americans continue to contend psychologically with the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was unclear whether the vaccine stopped infection entirely, however, as the vaccinated monkeys tested positive for virus in their noses.