Coronavirus vaccine trial may enter phase 2 in spring


The first human trial of a coronavirus vaccine could take the next step this spring, Moderna president Noubar Afeyan said Thursday.

“It is difficult to set a specific date for things just because it is a very dynamic situation,” Afeyan told Meg Tirrell of CNBC. “We have entered phase 1 trials. We are hoping to enter phase 2 trials, we hope it will happen in the spring, maybe early summer. “

“And success will hopefully lead us to phase 3 trials,” added Afeyan on “The Exchange”.

Moderna has partnered with the National Institutes of Health to accelerate the development of the vaccine to prevent COVID-19. Phase 1 human trials of the potential vaccine began in the Seattle area in mid-March.

The trial was launched at “record speed,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci. Fauci, a White House health advisor and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Wednesday that the trial was “on the right track” and that public distribution was still scheduled in 12 to 18 months.

The development of a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 continues to gain momentum as more than 981,000 people worldwide have been infected with the disease. More than 50,000 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Afeyan, who is also CEO of the venture capital firm Flagship Pioneering, helped co-found Moderna, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2010.

Afeyan said he expects other companies working on a vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson, can also successfully develop an effective one.

“We hope everyone will succeed because the global demand for this type of intervention far exceeds what any actor can offer,” he said.

Johnson & Johnson said Monday it hopes to begin human testing of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine by September.

Other companies are trying to develop a drug to treat COVID-19.

Former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Thursday that he hoped to see the same emergency over a vaccine applied to a COVID-19 drug.

A vaccine is the long-term solution, but an effective drug could be developed faster, said Gottlieb, a CNBC contributor who sits on the boards of Pfizer and biotechnology company Illumina.

“This virus will not go away. It will continue to bounce around the world, “said Gottlieb. “And it will change our lives until we have a therapy that can defeat it or really dispel the fear of this virus spreading in the background. “


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