Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

New York — Moderna has said it has selected a dose for a final-stage clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine that should begin in July, as the company moves ahead rapidly with its innovative approach to trying to prevent Covid-19.

The final study, which will include 30,000 people, will be conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US. Its primary goal will be to show the vaccine prevents people from developing symptoms of Covid-19, Moderna said in a statement. A secondary goal will be to show the vaccine keeps people from getting severe cases that require hospitalisation.

Shares of Moderna climbed 3.2% to $61.98 at 8.26am in New York. The stock has more than tripled in value since the start of this year.

The announcement is another indication that coronavirus vaccine trials are moving ahead at a remarkable pace. On Wednesday, Johnson & Johnson said it would begin early trials of its vaccine in the second half of July, ahead of its previous schedule to begin testing in September.

Last month, Moderna began a second-stage study of its vaccine, called mRNA-1273, in 600 healthy adults. In the statement on Thursday, the company said it has already enrolled 350 people in the trial, including a cohort of 300 healthy adults 54 years and younger, and the first 50 of 300 older adults.

Some vaccines are moving into clinical trials even faster than Moderna’s; a shot co-developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca is starting final-stage clinical trials this month — and the UK company said on Thursday that it has recruited Emergent BioSolutions to help with development and manufacturing.

China has begun offering employees of some large state-run companies the option of being inoculated with two coronavirus vaccines currently in development.


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