Moderna (MRNA 0.22%) was again in the headlines on Wednesday, following hopeful news about its mRNA-1273 coronavirus vaccine candidate.

The company revealed that in a small, early-stage clinical trial, mRNA-1273 produced what Moderna described as "consistently high levels" of neutralizing antibodies that could provide immunity to the coronavirus. These levels are comparable to those produced by younger adults, according to the company, which made the claims in a presentation to the government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Coronavirus container receiving swab.

Image source: Getty Images.

The volume of antibodies produced was also higher than those of patients who recovered from COVID-19, the disease triggered by the coronavirus.

Moderna added that the vaccine candidate produced no significant adverse effects on the dosed patients. 

The study consisted of 20 participants, ten of whom were between 56 and 70 years old, and the remainder 71 and older. mRNA-1273 was administered in two 100 microgram doses, 28 days apart.

The results of Moderna's study have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.  

Nevertheless, they will likely buttress mRNA-1273's position as a leading vaccine candidate -- if not the leading vaccine candidate -- currently undergoing clinical testing. At the moment, it is currently recruiting patients for a phase 3 clinical trial -- the final stage before it can be submitted for approval by major regulators.

According to the company, it is on pace to meet its goal of drafting 30,000 participants in the trial. As of Aug. 21, it had enrolled over 13,000 individuals.

Investors were highly encouraged by the company's announcement. Shares of Moderna were trading 11% higher in early afternoon trading on Wednesday.