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Bill Gates, Backer of Inovio And Six Others, Says Coronavirus Vaccine Could Be Mass Produced Within A Year

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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates on Sunday said that a vaccine for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) could be produced at a mass-scale within a year.

What Happened

"If everything went perfectly, we'd be in scale manufacturing within a year," Gates told CNN's Fareed Zakaria. "It could be as long as two years."

The technology entrepreneur said he agrees with White House Coronavirus Task Force lead member Anthony Fauci's timeline of 12 to 18 months for mass-producing a vaccine.

"It's very hard to compress these timeframes," he added, saying that the phase three trials, which determine if the drug has harmful side effects, will take time.

Gates also called for a phased reopening of the country, starting with schools and critical businesses, with social distancing and safety equipment guidelines in place. Otherwise, the pandemic could worsen, he warned.

Why It Matters

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has backed Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: INO) and six other COVID-19 vaccine candidates as part of its 0 million fund for efforts against the pandemic.

Inovio chief executive officer Joseph Kim said last week it's possible for its vaccine candidate to be ready in 12 to 18 months.

Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA) was the first company to start human trials in the U.S. in March, with federal funding, and Inovio followed suit earlier this month.

Four other vaccines, including three in China and one in the United Kingdom, are currently in clinical trials, according to the World Health Organization.

Price Action

Inovio's shares closed 21.3% higher at $14.59 on Friday. The shares traded 2.7% lower in the after-hours at $14.19.

Moderna stock closed 6.5% higher at $50.50 per share. It traded 0.6% lower in the after-hours at $50.20 per share.

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