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Coronavirus: vaccine production takes at least 18 months

With the global spread of the coronavirus, the pressure on biotech and pharmaceutical companies is increasing, to produce an effective and safe vaccine quickly. The Moderna Pharmaceuticals company has now advanced in the USA. Within just 42 days, Moderna developed a vaccine candidate against the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus, reports Technology Review online.

Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the company is a pioneer in a new type of gene-based vaccine. It produces so-called mRNA vaccines. To do this, it basically embeds the genetic instructions for a component of a virus in a nanoparticle that can then be injected into a person. Although new methods like Moderna’s can be carried out at lightning speed, they have never launched a licensed vaccine on the market.

Just a few weeks after the outbreak, Moderna had given a vaccine candidate to the US government for testing. CEO, Stéphane Bancel, expects a phase 2 test, an early round of efficacy tests, to begin in the summer. The remedy must show that it is safe. A period of 18 months is inevitable. While a safety test may only take three months, the vaccine would then have to be given to hundreds or thousands of people in the core area of ​​an outbreak to determine if they are protected. It can take a year, no matter what technology is used.

When Moderna Pharmaceuticals announced in late February that it had delivered doses of the first coronavirus vaccine candidate to the National Institutes of Health, the value of its shares rose 30 percent, bringing the company’s stock market valuation to around $ 11 billion during the remaining market collapsed. The vaccine could be given to first volunteers by the middle of this month to test its safety in a phase 1 test.



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