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Moderna: mRNA Coronavirus Vaccine Works Against Multiple Strains

Moderna: mRNA Coronavirus Vaccine Works Against Multiple Strains

Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) shares were trading higher Monday after the company said mRNA-1273, its vaccine candidate against the novel coronavirus, was found to be effective against mutant strains that have emerged.

The company also said it is pursuing a proactive clinical strategy in tackling the emerging strains.

What Happened: Lab studies of sera from individuals vaccinated with mRNA-1273 showed that the vaccine offered immunity against emerging strains of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna. 

"Vaccine produced neutralizing titers against all key emerging variants tested, including B.1.1.7 and B.1.351, first identified in the UK and Republic of South Africa, respectively," the company said in the statement.

With the B.1.1.7 strain, there was no significant impact on neutralizing titers, while with the B.1.351 variant, despite the sixfold reduction in neutralizing titers, the levels of neutralizing titers remined above levels that are expected to be protective.

This study was conducted in collaboration with the Vaccine Research Center and the NIAID.

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE)-BioNTech SE – ADR (NASDAQ: BNTX) said last week that lab studies proved that its vaccine works against the B.1.1.7 strain.

Related Link: The Week Ahead In Biotech (Jan 24-30): J&J, Lilly to Kickstart Big Pharma Earnings, Amgen FDA Decision and More

Moderna said the manuscript has been submitted as a preprint to bioRxiv and will be submitted for peer-reviewed publication.

Proactive Clinical Strategy: Moderna said it will test an additional booster dose mRNA-1273 to study the ability to further increase neutralizing titers against emerging strains beyond the existing primary vaccination series.

A two-dose regimen at the 100-µg dose level is recommended at this time. 

Out of abundance of caution, Moderna said it is advancing into preclinical studies and a Phase 1 study in the U.S. an emerging variant booster candidate, codenamed mRNA-1273.351, against the B.1.351 variant first identified in South Africa.

Moderna expects that its mRNA-based booster vaccine will be able to further boost neutralizing titers in combination with all of the leading vaccine candidates.

MRNA Price Action: Moderna shares were up 11.1% at $145.56 at last check Monday. 

Related Link: The Gilead, Galapagos Pipeline Opportunities That Are Turning Morgan Stanley Bullish


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