Moderna CEO Says Coronavirus Vaccine Supply Will Be Limited, US Will Help Decide Who Will Get It First

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If Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine works, the company plans to work “very closely” with the US government to determine who will receive the first doses, CEO Stephane Bancel told CNBC on Friday.

The company announced Thursday that the Food and Drug Administration has authorized its potential vaccine for a phase 2 trial, which the company has called a “crucial step.” Moderna is increasing its manufacturing capacity in order to be able to quickly distribute doses if the vaccine proves effective against the virus and harmless to humans.

Despite this, the company will not immediately have enough for everyone, said Bancel.

“We will all be constrained by supply for some time, which means that we will not be able to make as many products as needed to vaccinate everyone on the planet,” he said on “Squawk Box From CNBC.

Last week, Moderna announced a 10-year partnership with Swiss drug maker Lonza to accelerate production of the experimental vaccine. Bancel told CNBC at the time that the company hoped to start making its potential vaccine “as early as July”.

He added that with this partnership, the company hopes to be able to make about 1 billion doses a year. There are more than 7.6 billion people on the planet, according to the world population clock from the US Census.

Bancel said Friday the company will work with the U.S. government to determine who will receive the first doses.

“In the case of the United States, we plan to work closely with the government and key medical officials to decide who will receive the vaccine in the first batch. And then, when you have the next batch to ship to the government, how do we divide it up between health care workers, people at high risk and the different geographic areas where you have the most cases? ” he declares.

Last month, BARDA, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, granted Moderna up to $ 483 million in funding to accelerate the development of the Covid-19 vaccine candidate.

The potential vaccine, which was developed by researchers at Moderna and the National Institutes of Health, became the first candidate to enter a human phase 1 trial in March.. The company has yet to release the results of the phase 1 trial, but has received federal government approval to start a larger phase 2 trial soon. Bancel said the phase 3 trial would hopefully start early in the summer.

The vaccine candidate uses synthetic messenger RNA to inoculate against the virus. These treatments help the body to immunize against a virus and can potentially be developed and produced faster than traditional vaccines.

The race to develop a vaccine is extremely competitive and investors are watching closely for signs of progress on treatments and vaccines. Bancel said it would take more than one company to repel the coronavirus, which has infected more than 3.8 million people worldwide and killed at least 270,000 people, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

“No business can help the whole planet,” he told CNBC last month.

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