Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine could reach healthcare workers this fall

Concept of SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19
The FDA has already used its Emergency Use Authorization power to OK the use of unapproved diagnostics for the novel coronavirus. (Maksim Tkachenko/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Although Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is at least a year away from a widespread rollout, the company may provide the vaccine to a few people, which could include healthcare workers, as early as this fall.

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told Goldman Sachs on Friday that the mRNA vaccine, dubbed mRNA-1273, “is not likely” to be commercially available for at least 12 to 18 months, the company revealed in a securities filing Monday. But, he added, “it is possible that under emergency use, a vaccine could be available to some people, possible including healthcare professionals, in the fall of 2020.”

The FDA has already used its Emergency Use Authorization power to OK the use of unapproved diagnostics for the novel coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2. The agency has done the same for previous outbreaks, allowing tests for Zika and Ebola to bypass the typical route for diagnostics to gain approval.

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Moderna kicked off the first human trial of a COVID-19 vaccine last Monday when the company and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease started testing mRNA-1273 in healthy volunteers. The company is building up its manufacturing capacity so it can make millions of doses of the vaccine each month, Bancel told Goldman Sachs.

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BioNTech and Pfizer are also developing an mRNA vaccine against COVID-19, dubbed BNT162. The duo expect to move it into the clinic by the end of April. Fosun Pharma is partnered on the vaccine in China. And Johnson & Johnson announced earlier this month that it would soon select a vaccine candidate for clinical work, with eyes on a human trial in November.

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