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Report: Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Delayed

By Eric Volkman – Jul 2, 2020 at 4:16PM

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A crucial phase 3 study might get off the ground later than expected.

The world can't wait for a COVID-19 vaccine, but the world might just have to wait a touch longer. According to a report published Thursday on biotech industry news site STAT, citing investigators presumably involved in the research, a phase 3 clinical trial of Moderna's (MRNA -0.96%) mRNA-1273 has been delayed. This delay, the length of which was not specified, is due to the fact that Moderna is modifying the protocol of the research.

mRNA-1273 is one of the leading vaccine candidates for COVID-19, and it has vaulted Moderna to the top ranks of coronavirus stocks. Many pundits and infectious disease experts consider mRNA-1273 to be No. 1 among the vaccines currently being developed. The phase 3 trial, involving around 30,000 patients, was to begin this month.

A syringe being filled from a vial.

Image source: Getty Images.

One of the investigators was quoted by STAT as saying that "[m]y understanding was that they wanted to get the first vaccines given in July, and they say they're still committed to do that. As best I can tell, they're close to being on target for that."

Contacted by CNBC for a response, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel claimed that "we have always said July. And I confirm July." He did not elaborate.

It is not unusual for a company or other entity conducting clinical research to make changes to its protocol. Typically these changes are not drastic, and usually involve a series of adjustments. The STAT article did not provide details about the apparent protocol modifications.

Nevertheless, investors weren't happy with this development. Moderna was down by around 5% in late afternoon trading on Thursday.

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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