In this Motley Fool Live video recorded on March 26, healthcare and cannabis bureau chief Corinne Cardina and Fool.com contributor Adria Cimino discuss Moderna's (MRNA 4.12%) coronavirus vaccine trial in kids -- and what that population may mean for revenue.
Corinne Cardina: Let's talk a little bit about Moderna. Some exciting news, especially for people who have young children. Moderna is now testing its vaccine in the pediatric population. It just announced that it has dosed its first participants in a phase 2/3 study that is planning to enroll almost 7,000 healthy kids, younger than age 12. It's being conducted in partnership with several government agencies, including agencies that fall under the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health and Human Services. Is Moderna the only company testing on kids, and what is the potential market opportunity in the pediatric vaccination landscape?
Adria Cimino: We've actually seen a lot of action here in just the past few weeks. Moderna was the first to announce this study in children ages 6 months through 11 years old. Just recently, Pfizer (PFE 0.50%) announced a trial in the same age group. Pfizer's a couple of weeks behind, I would say, but they are really running on the same schedule. Also, Moderna and Pfizer are both doing a teen trial, and they're both fully enrolled. They're both making progress there as well. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ -0.89%) plans to do a study in teens, and then after that, in younger kids, but they haven't started that yet. But we can keep an eye out for that. That maybe will be soon. AstraZeneca (AZN 1.93%) also started a trial in February, I believe, in ages 6 through 17. They're also working on younger age groups. Now, as far as the latest trial from Moderna, the actually the really young kids, this is a big market opportunity. Fifteen percent of the U.S. population is under 12. That's about 48 million individuals. If we do the math on it according to how much Moderna is charging the U.S., we can say that Moderna can make $1.5 billion in sales on this particular group of individuals. Of course, that's just the U.S., it's not even counting other countries. It's definitely something that would be very interesting for the company. Now, there's an importance of getting kids vaccinated. I know a lot of the severe cases of COVID, of course, have been older people and a lot of children are asymptomatic and we say it doesn't infect them very much. But this is really a step to reaching herd immunity. The idea that we need at least between 60%, people say between 60% and 90% of the population -- experts are saying probably about 70% of the population to be either vaccinated or have been exposed to the virus, been sick. This is really an essential step to get these kids vaccinated. Of course, as far as transmission, there's no proof that vaccination prevents asymptomatic transmission. But the idea is if fewer people are sick, it reduces the amount of viral shedding into the environment, people coughing and sneezing. It's more of an opportunity -- more of a risk for other people to get COVID when there's more viral shedding into the community. The idea of vaccinating children is going to cut down on that risk as well.