The largest - and perhaps one of the most crucial - coronavirus drug study kicked off Monday with the first batch of 30,000 expected participants helping in the vaccine trial put up by the U.S. government.
One of multiple potentials in the final phase in the global race to create an effective and safe medication, the test has fingers crossed and optimism tense. However, there's still no solid assurance that this candidate drug developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc. can really do wonders.
Moderna's candidate vaccine to fight COVID-19 entered a new and critical stage of trials, which gathered around 30,000 subjects at 87 locations across the United States.
With nearly $500 million in fresh funding, it marks the first official late-stage test of a potential coronavirus drug to be carried out in the country.
Moderna's chief executive officer has disclosed that the biotech group is likely to produce its findings around Thanksgiving.
If those results show promise, the Food and Drug Administration may then immediately give the drug the green light for emergency use among high-risk patients, as it looks to grant full authorization.
Experts project that the Massachusetts-based biotech group will likely publish its preliminary findings with regards to the drug's performance in the fall.
As of 2:30 p.m., Moderna stock rose almost 10 percent and settled at 79.91 at Monday's close, giving the developer -- which has yet to have a vaccine approved -- a market value of almost $30 billion.
Moderna announced Monday that the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority had granted it an additional $472 million to fund its clinical trials. In total, BARDA has allotted $955 million to Moderna's vaccine program.
For its Phase 3, which is the final leg for the vaccine test, its main objective is to answer the most important question: Is it effective and safe to combat the virus?
"This is the main event, if you will, in vaccine development," Moderna president Dr. Stephen Hoge said, as quoted by Erika Edwards in her NBC report. For NIAID chief Dr. Anthony Fauci, a safe and effective treatment is urgently needed "to ultimately control this pandemic," the report quoted him in a statement.
Several other vaccines produced by China and by the Oxford University in Britain launched their own smaller final-phase trials in Brazil and other hard-hit nations earlier this month.
The final U.S. trials of the Oxford shot will unfurl next month, followed by plans to test a candidate vaccine from Johnson & Johnson in September and Novavax in October -- if all goes according to plan. Pfizer Inc. plans its own 30,000-subject study in the summer.