There are a few major pharmaceutical companies that are working on a COVID-19 vaccine that will help us contain the novel coronavirus. One of them is Moderna.
Moderna was the first company to have the announced that it is working on a SARS CoV2 vaccine and they were also the first ones to commence human trials of their vaccine.
And as they prepare for their final trail which is scheduled for sometime in July, Moderna CEO, Stephane Bancel, claims that his company’s COVID-19 vaccine has an 80 to 90 percent chance of getting FDA approval.
He said in an interview with CNBC, “We know our platform. It works on MERS, Zika and CMV and so on. When you have the right sequence … you will get neutralizing antibodies.” along with this, he has offered five reasons as to how a 10-year old pharmaceutical company with no product out in the market yet is challenging the largest pharmaceutical giants in the industry.
Moderna COVID-19 vaccine technology
In the first reason, he spoke about the technology itself, that they’re using — mRNA or messenger RNA. The mRNA is essentially a genetic code that instructs cells how to form a protein.
mRNA tells the body’s own cellular mechanisms for making proteins that looks similar to the virus proteins, thus forming an immune response. Moderna was able to deliver the first doses of this vaccine in just 42 days to NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases).
Moderna vaccine 10th development
The second reason according to him is that this is in fact the tenth vaccine Moderna has developed. Before this, Moderna’s most complex offering was a vaccine against cytomegalovirus or CMV. So over time, they’ve grasped more experience in developing vaccines.
Moderna coronavirus connection
Listing the third reason, he shared that Moderna has worked previously on the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) virus too (which is also a coronavirus). Even though that vaccine never made it to human trials, the collaboration on this with National Health Institute was helpful in preparing them to work on COVID-19.
Moderna manufacturing facility
He also mentions the fact that Moderna has its own manufacturing facility in Massachusetts that’s digital and state of the art (fully automated, requiring minimal human intervention) that is not only fully capable of making its doses but also can do it without wasting any time, as opposed to other manufacturers who rely on contract manufacturers that delay the process. He claims that had that been the case with them they’d still be in preclinical stages.
Moderna COVID-19 vaccine candidate mRNA-1273 is now soon going to commence a 30,000-person phase 3 trial in just a matter of six months after it was created.
The company claims that the primary goal of the study would be to prevent symptomatic cases of the novel coronavirus. The second goal will be to denote its preventiveness to reduce the number of infections.