The American laboratory Modern welcomed the first promising results on Monday after an initial phase of clinical trials on a vaccine based on a technique called messenger RNA.
The American biotechnology company Moderna announced on Monday, May 18, very preliminary but encouraging results for its experimental vaccine, before large-scale trials are planned in July.
The young company, in which the US government has invested $ 483 million, has announced “positive interim data” from the initial phase of clinical trials. In eight people, the experimental vaccine called mRNA-1273 elicited an immune response similar to that seen in those naturally infected with the virus that causes Covid-19.
President Donald Trump, who wants 300 million doses in January to vaccinate the American population, was immediately pleased. “I saw the results, they are amazing. I am very happy and the markets are going up,” he said.
This first phase also aimed to verify that the vaccine is non-toxic, and Moderna reported only a few side effects such as injection site redness.
Modern began human testing on March 16, among the first in the world. To date, only 12 clinical trials have been initiated, half of them in China, according to the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, on a hundred identified projects.
In order to be a priority, the US invested early in the Moderna project and in the, less advanced, US group Johnson & Johnson and French laboratory Sanofi, which has production facilities in the US.
It is too early to predict the future of this vaccine, based on a technique called messenger RNA that has never been proven effective. The technology aims to provide the body with the genetic information it needs to prevent coronavirus prevention. The complete results of the Phase 1 study, of 45 participants aged 18 to 55, are not yet known.
Wait for the results from phase 3
“This is not bad news,” tempted Stephen Evans, a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, noting that these first numbers do not affect the elderly, those most at risk of Covid-19. “It is very difficult to be sure of the results of a press release,” he adds, emphasizing that only the results of future phase 3 will determine the effectiveness.
Phase 2, out of 600 people, has already received green light from the American Medicines Agency and should begin in June. Phase 3, which is usually done on thousands of people, should begin in July, says Stephen Hoge, president of Moderna.
The company, founded nine years ago and based in Cambridge near Boston, has so far never received a drug or vaccine license. During the process, Moderna’s share price in New York jumped more than 25% at noon.
Modern: research on covid-19 has taken its action