Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is “cautiously optimistic” about Moderna Inc's (NASDAQ: MRNA) coronavirus vaccine candidate and told NPR that, if proven successful, it could be ready for use at the end of 2020.
Moderna's stock ticked up about 4% Friday morning following his comments.
What Fauci Said
"Although the numbers were limited, it was quite good news because it reached and went over an important hurdle in the development of vaccines,” Fauci said Thursday at a CNN town hall. “That's the reason why I'm cautiously optimistic about it."
In early Phase 1 trial data released Monday, the vaccine was seen to trigger antibody responses in eight healthy volunteers and found to be “generally safe and well-tolerated.”
Fauci acknowledged to NPR that the data has not been peer reviewed, but, “having looked at the data myself, it is really quite promising.”
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He noted that the peer review process would happen perhaps within weeks, and additional studies of the candidate have been accelerated.
"What we're doing right now" in examining multiple candidates, "is that you even start" making doses "before you are completely sure that it works," he told NPR. With this strategy, doses could be ready by the end of the year or early 2021.
In the meantime, the threat of infection persists. Fauci warned that a second wave of outbreaks may come as states continue to loosen mitigation policies.
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