Moderna gets further $472 million US award for coronavirus vaccine development

The US government awarded another $472m to US biotech Moderna to support the phase 3 clinical trials on July 26, 2020. (File/AFP)
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Updated 26 July 2020

Moderna gets further $472 million US award for coronavirus vaccine development

  • The funding will support late-stage clinical development of the vaccine and the phase 3 trials.

WASHINGTON D.C: Moderna Inc. said on Sunday it has received an additional $472 million from the US government’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to support development of its novel coronavirus vaccine.
The US-based drug maker said the additional funding will support its late-stage clinical development including the expanded Phase 3 study of Moderna’s vaccine candidate.
In April, Moderna had received $483 million from the US federal agency that funds disease-fighting technology, when the experimental vaccine was in an early-stage trial conducted by the US National Institutes of Health.
“Encouraged by the Phase 1 data, we believe that our mRNA vaccine may aid in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and preventing future outbreaks,” Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Bancel said in a press release.
BARDA’s total funding for the experimental vaccine of Moderna, the first in the United States to begin human trials of a coronavirus vaccine, is now about $955 million.
The vaccine uses synthetic messenger RNA (mRNA) to inoculate against the coronavirus. Such treatments help the body immunize against a virus and can potentially be developed and manufactured more quickly than traditional vaccines.
A Phase 3 study, conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will begin on July 27 and involve about 30,000 participants, according to the company.
Moderna said it remains on track to be able to deliver about 500 million doses per year, and possibly up to 1 billion doses per year, beginning in 2021.
The announcement about further funding came two days after the drug developer said its formula used in developing the vaccine was not covered under patents owned by Arbutus Biopharma.
Pfizer Inc, Novavax Inc, Britian’s AstraZeneca Plc are other few drug makers that received funding from BARDA for coronavirus vaccine development.


Police clash with anti-lockdown protesters in London

Updated 19 September 2020

Police clash with anti-lockdown protesters in London

  • Scuffles broke out Saturday as police moved in to disperse hundreds of demonstrators who gathered in London’s central Trafalgar Square
  • Britain’s Conservative government imposed a ban on all social gatherings of more than six people this week in a bid to tackle a steep rise in COVID-19 cases in the country

LONDON: Police in London have clashed with protesters at a rally organized by opponents of restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.
Scuffles broke out Saturday as police moved in to disperse hundreds of demonstrators who gathered in London’s central Trafalgar Square. Some protesters formed blockades to stop officers from making arrests, and traffic was brought to a halt in the busy area.
The “Resist and Act for Freedom” rally saw dozens of people holding banners and placards such as one reading “This is now Tyranny” and chanting “Freedom!” Police said there were “pockets of hostility and outbreaks of violence towards officers.”
Britain’s Conservative government imposed a ban on all social gatherings of more than six people this week in a bid to tackle a steep rise in COVID-19 cases in the country, but officials are considering even stricter restrictions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday that Britain is “now seeing a second wave” of the coronavirus, after seeing the same in France, Spain and across Europe.
Britain has Europe’s worst death toll in the pandemic with 41,821 confirmed virus-related deaths, but experts say all numbers undercount the true impact of the pandemic.
In a statement, British police said protesters were “putting themselves and others at risk” and urged all those at the London rally to disperse immediately or risk arrest.