US drugmaker reports promising early results from COVID-19 vaccine test
515 total views, 1 views today
by Ivan Couronne
US biotech firm Moderna reported promising early results on Monday from the first clinical tests of an experimental vaccine against the novel coronavirus performed on a small number of volunteers.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company said the vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, appeared to produce an immune response in eight people who received it similar to that seen in people convalescing from the virus.
“These interim Phase 1 data, while early, demonstrate that vaccination with mRNA-1273 elicits an immune response of the magnitude caused by natural infection,” said Moderna’s chief medical officer Tal Zaks.
“These data substantiate our belief that mRNA-1273 has the potential to prevent COVID-19 disease and advance our ability to select a dose for pivotal trials,” Zaks said.
President Donald Trump welcomed the news saying “it’s incredible what they can do and I’ve seen results.
“And the results are staggeringly good,” Trump told reporters. “So I’m very happy and the market’s up very big.”
Wall Street stocks posted substantial gains on Monday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average adding 3.85 percent and the S&P 500 up 3.15 percent.
Moderna shares gained 19.96 percent to close at $80.00 in New York.
Moderna, which was founded nine years ago, said the vaccine “was generally safe and well tolerated” and that patients suffered no more than redness or soreness from the shots.
In a conference call, Moderna chief executive Stephane Bancel said the preliminary tests inspired confidence that mRNA-1273 has “a high probability to provide protection” against the virus.
“We could not be happier about these interim data,” Bancel said of the Phase 1 test, the first of three in the development of a vaccine.
Separate tests performed on mice showed that the vaccine prevented the virus from replicating in their lungs, according to the company.
The US government has invested nearly half a billion dollars in the development of Moderna’s vaccine candidate.
It is being developed in a partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease headed by Anthony Fauci and the clinical test was carried out by the National Institutes of Health. (AFP)