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Moderna Just Eliminated One of Its Biggest Risks

By Adria Cimino - Updated Jan 29, 2021 at 8:26AM

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It answered the question everyone has been asking since the start of clinical trials.

Moderna (MRNA 4.12%) and rivals have shown in clinical trials that their vaccines can prevent coronavirus infection. But the big question is: How long can this protection last? In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on Jan. 22, 2021, healthcare and cannabis bureau chief Corinne Cardina and Fool.com contributor Adria Cimino discuss Moderna's recent answer to this question, and how it eliminates a major risk.

Corinne Cardina: I want to talk about an article that you wrote, Adria. The title is, This Is The Best News Yet For Moderna's COVID Vaccine. All that news I just mentioned sounds really good. What is the latest, most exciting news and what can you tell us about why it's a positive sign for its stock?

Adria Cimino: Well, the big unknown for all of these companies has really been: How long are the antibodies going to last? Now, the antibodies refer to protection, of course. We've all been talking about neutralizing antibodies since the beginning of trials and everything. Basically, those are the antibodies that block infection. Obviously, they're very, very important. Of course, all these companies have shown in clinical trials that they can produce neutralizing antibodies. We really didn't know how long will these last. There was a good scenario and there was a nightmare scenario. Let's start with the bad scenario. The negative scenario would be that this did really well in the trials, but then afterwards out in the real world, after a few months, the neutralizing antibodies wouldn't last. Then that would mean you'd have to be vaccinated once every few months. As we can see, it's already difficult to vaccinate the population. You can just imagine if we had to do this every few months how awful that would be -- probably it wouldn't even be possible. The good scenario would be if they were to last at least a year. Now, the Moderna CEO recently spoke at a Paris investor conference and he said that it seems that their vaccine was going to show protection for a couple of years. That really sounds good. It gives the impression that we might be able to get a vaccine once a year or once every two years. Now, of course, Moderna didn't say how often they're going to give the vaccine. How often you would need this vaccine. They're still studying that. In fact, they're looking into the possibility of a booster. The idea would be you get the two-dose vaccine now, let's say, and then a year from now, you would get a booster shot. They're going to start a trial in July on that. Now, what does this all mean for investors? This is really great news because it removes a big risk factor. Because even if things look great in clinical trials, if the antibody protection didn't last very long, that could really ruin everything. This is excellent news for Moderna and for Moderna's investors.

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