The shares of drugmaker Moderna Inc. MRNA skyrocketed in the after-hours session on Monday as the Wall Street Journal reported that it has sent the first vaccine developed for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) for clinical trials.
The Massachusetts-based company sent out the first batch of vaccine vials from its Norwood manufacturing plant to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Maryland, according to the Journal.
The initial clinical trial to test the drug's efficacy, involving about 20 to 25 healthy volunteers, is expected to start by late April, according to the Journal. The results of the trial could become available by July or August.
Why It Matters
NIAID director Anthony Fauci noted to the Journal that Moderna has touched a record turnaround time in developing this vaccine.
"Going into a Phase One trial within three months of getting the sequence is unquestionably the world indoor record," Fauci told the Journal. "Nothing has ever gone that fast."
Fauci said that the vaccine is unlikely to be available until next year, even if it is found to be successful. He further added that coronavirus could be curtailed as warmer climates kick in, but could make a seasonal comeback much like the flu, making a vaccine useful in protecting any future outbreaks of the COVID-19.
About 79,572 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed across the globe, with about 2,630 reported deaths.
China has reported a slump in new cases of the virus but a sudden rise in cases in South Korea and Italy brought new fears of the virus spreading internationally.
At least 833 cases were confirmed in South Korea and another 229 in Italy by Monday, making them the two worst-affected countries outside of mainland China.
Moderna's shares traded 18.34% higher at $22 in the after-hours session on Monday.
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