Moderna jumps 5% after Fauci says its upcoming COVID-19 vaccine trial data may be positive

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  • Moderna shares jumped as much as 5% in pre-market trading on Thursday after Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted positive data from a second COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The US drugmaker said on Thursday that it now has enough data to begin the first interim analysis of its vaccine, before submitting it to an independent board for review.
  • Fauci said he would be surprised if Moderna’s trial results are not similar to Pfizer’s recent success.
  • The company did not say when its data would be submitted to an independent board.
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Shares in Moderna jumped as much as 5% in pre-market trading on Thursday after Anthony Fauci, the US’s leading infectious-disease expert, said he was optimistic about the company’s upcoming COVID-19 vaccine trial data. 

The US drugmaker said on Wednesday that it has enough cases to begin the first interim analysis of its COVID-19 vaccine, called mRNA-1273.

30,000 people in the US were given Moderna’s vaccine, or a placebo — a shot of saline that has no effect.

“Moderna has seen a significant increase in the rate of case identification across sites in the last week,” the company said in a statement. “As a result, the company expects the first interim analysis will include substantially more than 53 cases, the targeted trigger point for the analysis.”

The company did not specify when the data on these cases would be submitted to an independent board for review, and said it remains blinded to whether participants received the vaccine or a placebo.

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The board will determine whether Moderna’s vaccine is effective or requires further trials in case of inconclusive results.

Moderna’s shares are up 358% this year, compared to the broader S&P 500’s 10.6% rise. 

On Monday, Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech announced that their coronavirus vaccine had succeeded in the final stage of clinical trials, marking a major milestone in the global race for a vaccine. The vaccine is supposed to be 90% effective at preventing illness.

Fauci told the FT Live Global Pharmaceutical Summit that he would be surprised if Moderna’s results were not similar to Pfizer’s.

He expects US authorities to begin offering a vaccine as early as late November with frontline healthcare workers as a priority. All Americans could have access to a vaccine by April, he said.

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