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Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine shows early promise; shares soar around 20%

The data are from eight people who took part in a safety trial that kicked off in March as the global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus was spreading.

Topics
Coronavirus | Vaccine | US government

Reuters  |  Bengaluru 

testing, private laboratories, labs, vaccines, doctors, nurses, health, coronavirus
The study, which was not designed to prove the vaccine works, offered an early glimmer of hope that it could provide protection against the virus.

Early data from Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, the first to be tested in the US, showed that it produced protective anti-bodies in a small group of healthy volunteers, the company said on Monday.

The data are from eight people who took part in a safety trial that kicked off in March as the global pandemic caused by the novel was spreading.

In the trial of 45 volunteers, conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, eight volunteers who got two doses of the produced protective antibodies roughly on par with people who recovered from a natural infection of the virus that causes the Covid-19 illness, the US biotechnology company said in a news release.


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The study, which was not designed to prove the works, offered an early glimmer of hope that it could provide protection against the virus.

The news lifted shares of Moderna about 20 per cent to $79.39 in mid-morning trading and drove the broader stock market higher.

Scientists are still trying to understand what level of antibodies will ultimately prove protective against the novel coronavirus, and how long that protection will last.

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The appeared to show a dose response, meaning that people who got higher doses had higher levels of antibodies.

Moderna’s vaccine has gotten the green light to start the second stage of human testing, and last week, US regulators gave the vaccine “fast-track” status to speed up the regulatory review.

“We are investing to scale up manufacturing so we can maximize the number of doses we can produce to help protect as many people as we can from SARS-CoV-2,” Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said.

The company’s vaccine is at the forefront of the efforts to arrest the fast-spreading virus. Last week, it won the US.

health agency’s “fast-track” label to speed up the regulatory review.

Moderna expects to start a larger late-stage trial in July.

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There are currently no approved treatments or vaccines for Covid-19, and experts predict a safe and effective vaccine could take 12 to 18 months to develop.

The company has signed deals with Swiss contract drugmaker Lonza Group AG and the to produce massive quantities of its vaccine.

The vaccine, mRNA-1273, was also found to be generally safe and well tolerated in the early-stage study, the drug developer said.

One person in the trial experienced redness around the injection site, which was characterized as a “grade 3” side effect. No serious side effects had been reported, the company said.

First Published: Tue, May 19 2020. 00:00 IST
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