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With coronavirus outbreak spreading a lot of fears to the global investors, talks of a vaccine are bolstering the Moderna (MRNA) stock value. However, it is still an early call, as the vaccine takes over a year to go through the regulatory testing rounds.
The stocks of biotechnology company Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) rocketed approximately 23 % on Wednesday after the company announced that the progress in making another experimental vaccine for a virus tied to birth defects is going at faster pace than expected. MRNA stock previously grew 28% on Tuesday after it was discovered that ampules of a vaccine for the coronavirus had been shipped to the National Institutes of Health’s Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for clinical testing.
Admissions in a mid-stage study of Moderna’s mRNA-1647, a vaccine for cytomegalovirus or CMV, an infection that can lead to birth defects, has been done for two of the three subjects. A third is almost completed, with more than 85 percent of the patients already under the treatment.
Bloomberg reports that the company said it should have a CMV vaccine in the final stage of testing next year.
Coronavirus Vaccine First Batch Already Shipped to NIH/NIAID?
During the company’s fourth-quarter call, management didn’t want to reveal any additional information on its future plans regarding the coronavirus vaccine or eventual profitability of the latter. However, Moderna said in a statement Monday that the first batch of its novel coronavirus vaccine, called mRNA-1273, has been sent to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
In the official announcement though, CEO Stephane Bancel claimed:
“The Moderna team continues to execute our strategy, including our CMV Phase 2 study enrolling ahead of plan, shipping the coronavirus Phase 1 clinical materials to NIH/NIAID in just 42 days, and announcing five new development candidates in the last two months. We have up to $2 billion of capital to invest in the Company, a great team, a powerful mRNA platform and a state-of-the-art manufacturing site. I am more energized than ever about our future.”
Be it as it may, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said he predicts a human vaccine trial for the coronavirus would start in less than two months. Still, it will take at least a year and a half for a vaccine to reach the public.
“We will begin testing the vaccine in a month and a half, maybe a little later. We are on time, or a little bit better. In the first phase of testing that will start in six weeks, 45 people will be involved. The second phase will last for at least 6 months, testing to the other countries and areas with active transmission. So, the vaccine could be ready in a year or year and a half.”
Almost the same thing said the World Health Organization’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Tuesday. He claims that it will take between 12 and 18 months before a vaccine for coronavirus is ready. “But we can save many many lives now without a vaccine – through supportive therapy,” he added.
China Already Developed the Vaccine?
The official also noted that cases of human-to-human transmission have been recorded in 12 countries, while local transmission of coronavirus has been only found in specific circumstances, such as the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
He also announced that a WHO-led mission could travel to the center of the outbreak, in Wuhan, China.
However, it seems no one noticed what China has been saying already on Monday. China’s Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui said on Monday that an effective vaccine for the coronavirus has been created in China, but that it still needs further testing.
“China has developed a vaccine that shows immunity. But these are preliminary results and time is needed for further tests and fine-tuning the vaccine,” emphasized Hanhui.
Moderna (MRNA) stock was growing in the pre-market trading. At the moment of writing, it has reached $36.05 (+23.63%).