Moderna, the first pharmaceutical firm to conduct human trials of a coronavirus vaccine in the U.S., said it should know sometime in November whether its vaccine works. Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told CNBC on Thursday that it could have enough data by October from its late-stage trial to evaluate its efficacy, although he said he viewed that timeline as unlikely, according to the report.
President Donald Trump has asserted that a vaccine could be ready “.” Experts say that is unlikely given the time required to test and evaluate the vaccines for efficacy and safety. U.S. Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield told Congress Wednesday that a vaccine until the second or third quarter of next year — a projection that Mr. Trump took issue with, saying that Redfield “made a mistake.”
Redfield also said a mask could be even more effective in fighting the virus than a vaccine for someone who fails to build an immunity response from the vaccine.
“This face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine,” Redfield said while showing his mask. “… If I don’t get an immune response, the vaccine’s not going to protect me. This face mask will.”
So far, there are seven vaccines, including Moderna’s product, in final Phase 3 testing, which involves large-scale tests on people.
“If the infection rate in the country were to slow down in the next weeks, it could potentially be pushed out in a worst-case scenario in December,” Bancel told CNBC.
During a presentation on Thursday about Moderna’s research and development efforts, the company said it has enrolled more than 25,000 people in the Phase 3 trial. The company had reported promising results in a smaller-scale test earlier this year.
The company also said it was scaling manufacturing to produce between 500 million to 1 billion doses of the vaccine.
Moderna’s vaccine, which uses messenger RNA, or mRNA, to trick the body into producing viral proteins to fight disease, could require two shots to provide protection from the coronavirus. About 10,000 volunteers have received a second shot in the Phase 3 trial, Moderna said on Thursday.
However, no mRNA vaccine has so far been approved for an infectious disease, and Moderna has yet to bring a product to market, according to Deutsche Bank analysts.