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Moderna to start final-stage coronavirus vaccine trial next month

2 min read

Moderna Inc. Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said efficacy data for its Covid-19 vaccine could be available by as soon as Thanksgiving if everything goes right.

Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine is in second-stage trials, with final-stage trials set to begin next month on 30,000 people. In an interview on Bloomberg Television on Monday with David Rubenstein, Bancel said in a best-case scenario “we could have efficacy data by Thanksgiving. This is the best time line.”

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would decide what to do next, “they might decide to give us emergency use approval for people at very high risk,” while the agency more carefully reviews the data before granting approval for a broader population, Bancel said.

He said he was cautiously optimistic that one or more of the vaccines in testing would work.

Bancel also discussed the possibility raised by some vaccine experts that the coronavirus vaccine would prevent disease but not completely stop Covid-19 infection. While Moderna’s big trial will measure whether the vaccine prevents infection, the primary goal will be to prevent sickness, Bancel said.

“The number one priority is to make sure you get no disease,” said Bancel, “because of course people die from disease, not from infection.”

He also said Moderna was starting to think about how to fairly price its vaccine.

“The price, we are working on it as we speak,” he said. “What we need to make sure is that the vaccine is affordable.”

But vaccines won’t be free, he said.

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