Moderna CCP Virus Vaccine Won’t Be Ready Until Spring 2021: CEO

October 1, 2020 Updated: October 1, 2020

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said on Sept. 30 that the U.S. biotech firm’s CCP virus vaccine most likely won’t be ready for widespread public distribution until spring 2021.

The Massachusetts-based company also won’t be ready to apply for emergency authorization for its potential vaccine until Nov. 25 at the earliest, Bancel told the Financial Times.

“Nov. 25 is the time we will have enough safety data to be able to put into an EUA file that we would send to the FDA [Food and Drug Administration]—assuming that the safety data is good, i.e. a vaccine is deemed to be safe,” he told the newspaper.

The company said previously that it could seek emergency authorization for a vaccine as soon as Nov. 1.

Moderna didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.

The company’s experimental vaccine is among the leaders in the race to develop a safe and effective vaccine to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The candidate is currently being tested in a large decisive trial.

The race to come up with a vaccine has become a divisive issue for the Nov. 3 presidential election and was of significant importance in the presidential debate on Sept. 29 between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

“We’re weeks away from a vaccine,” Trump told moderator Chris Wallace. “I’ve spoken to Pfizer, I’ve spoken to all of the people that you have to speak to—Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and others. They can go faster than that by a lot.”

Besides Moderna, American pharmaceutical company Pfizer and multinational AstraZeneca are also conducting large-scale final-stage trials in the United States for potential CCP virus vaccines.

Moderna’s experimental vaccine, mRNA-1273, like Pfizer’s, is based on messenger RNA, meaning it relies on segments of genetic material delivered into cells to help stimulate an immune response.

While the technology can be used to fast-track a vaccine’s development over other methods, a setback of mRNA vaccines includes needing to store and distribute them at cold temperatures to prevent them from degrading.

According to Biopharmadive, Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine needs to be transported at -94 degrees Fahrenheit, while Moderna has an edge, but still requires conditions at -4 degrees Fahrenheit for transport.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials previously told the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that these requirements “will make it very difficult for community clinics and local pharmacies to store and administer.”

AstraZeneca’s vaccine is based on an adenoviral vector and requires only refrigeration.

The Trump administration reached a deal last month to secure 100 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine candidate. The government will pay the company $1.525 billion. The price per dose comes to about $30.50 for a two-dose regimen.

The news comes weeks after Bancel said the company could know whether its vaccine candidate is effective by the end of this month.

Reuters contributed to this report.