What happened

Moderna (MRNA 13.53%) was a strong performer Thursday, rising to close 5.1% higher. Two pieces of good news from across the Pacific Ocean formed a bullish wave lifting the shares skyward.

So what

The first, and more direct, of the two came from Japan's Health Ministry. An expert panel at the ministry formally recommended that the government approve Moderna's mRNA-1273 coronavirus vaccine for use in the populous Asian nation. Health Minister Norihisa Tamura said that such a nod could come on Friday -- a likely scenario given there's little time to waste in what's still a significant global healthcare crisis.

Gloved hand filling a syringe from a vial.

Image source: Getty Images.

Moderna's approval in Japan now seems like a foregone conclusion. Not only has Moderna already imported doses for use in the country, but mRNA-1273 is authorized for emergency use in the U.S. and the European Union. Particularly in the U.S., it is a go-to choice for mass inoculation.

Meanwhile, fellow coronavirus vaccine developer BioNTech's CEO Ugur Sahin said that BNT162b2 -- the jab it co-developed with Pfizer -- is likely to prove 70% to 75% effective in blocking infections of the feared coronavirus variant recently detected in India.

The BioNTech/Pfizer shot is similar to Moderna's as both harness messenger RNA in the fight against the coronavirus.

Now what

In countries like India, the coronavirus remains a major threat, and in countries like Japan it's a problem still short of solutions. Today was a reminder that the Moderna vaccine is still a potent and readily available solution.