Moderna says that more than 40% of participants sign up for COVID-19 vaccine test

FILE PHOTO: A sign marks the headquarters of Moderna Therapeutics, which is developing a vaccine against coronavirus (COVID-19), in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, May 18, 2020. REUTERS / Brian Snyder

(Reuters) – Drug Developer Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) on Friday said it has so far enrolled 13,194 participants in the ongoing 30,000-volunteer U.S. trial in the late stages testing its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

In a tweet, the company also said that 18% of the currently enrolled participants are Black, Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, groups among the hardest hit by the coronavirus virus pandemic.

Moderna began studying its vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, in July and expects to complete enrollment in September. The 30,000-subject U.S. trial was supported among the first studies at a late stage by the Trump administration’s effort to accelerate the development of measures against the new coronavirus, adding to hopes that an effective vaccine will help stem the pandemic end.

Last week, the company entered into a supply agreement with the US government to supply 100 million doses of its potential COVID-19 vaccine for about $ 1.5 billion.

Moderna, which has never marketed a vaccine, had previously received nearly $ 1 billion from the U.S. government, which helps bankroll several vaccine candidates under its Operation Warp Speed ​​program.

Black and Latino Americans are infected with COVID-19 at more than twice the rate of white Americans, with Native Americans infected at even higher rates, research has shown. The groups have historically been underrepresented in clinical trials.

A top board of Pfizer (PFE.N) told Reuters that about 19% of the 11,000 people enrolled so far in a 30,000-volunteer U.S. trial of its COVID-19 vaccine with German partner BioNTech (22UAy.F) are Black or Latino.

Report by Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Edited by Sonya Hepinstall

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