Actions of Modern (NASDAQ: mRNA) climbed 5.5% on Monday after the drug launch from a rival vaccine maker was halted.
The South African government planned to administer AstraZeneca‘s (NASDAQ: AZN) COVID-19 vaccine on the front line health care workers. However, that plan was halted after the first data from a small clinical trial showed AstraZeneca’s drug offered minimal protection against the strain of coronavirus that was spreading rapidly in the country.
South Africa will likely look to other pharmaceutical companies to help meet its urgent need for an effective vaccine against COVID-19. Moderna said in January that its vaccine offered protection against the strain of coronavirus first identified in South Africa. Moderna is also testing whether a booster dose of its vaccine could provide additional protection against the South African variant of the virus.
Efficacy against new coronavirus mutations will be a key factor in determining which vaccines emerge as precursors in the global battle against COVID-19. “As we seek to defeat the COVID-19 virus, which has created a global pandemic, we believe it is imperative to be proactive as the virus evolves,” Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in January. Moderna’s success in this area will also have a major impact on the returns it will generate for its shareholders in the years to come.
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