Biotech company Moderna said on Thursday that it is going to start the Phase III trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine with 30,000 volunteers next month.
The vaccine, known as mRNA-1273, will be given in the 100 microgram dose level in the trial, which is being done in conjunction with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.
At that dose level, the company said it can deliver 500 million doses per year and perhaps as many as 1 billion doses per year starting in 2021, as it works with Swiss drugmaker Lonza for its manufacturing needs.
“We look forward to beginning our Phase 3 study of mRNA-1273 with some 30,000 participants in July,” said Tal Zaks, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer at Moderna, in a statement. “Moderna is committed to advancing the clinical development of mRNA-1273 as safely and quickly as possible to demonstrate our vaccine’s ability to significantly reduce the risk of COVID-19 disease.”
Shares of Moderna were jumping in early Thursday trading, gaining more than 5 percent to $63.08.
The primary goal of the Phase III study is to prevent symptomatic COVID-19, with secondary goals including preventing severe COVID-19 (patients who need to be hospitalized) and preventing the infection of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The drug from the biotech company, which uses messenger RNA therapeutics and vaccines for its drugs, has gotten some praise from the scientific community, despite still being studied.
In mid-April, Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel appeared on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" and spoke briefly about the possible coronavirus vaccine, saying White House Coronavirus Task Force member Dr. Anthony Fauci had said he was optimistic about the process.
Earlier this week, Dr. Fauci said he was "cautiously optimistic" about the prospects of the vaccine candidates from various drug makers.
Currently, there is no known scientific cure for the disease known as COVID-19, however, a number of drugs are being tested to see if they can treat it.
As of Thursday morning, more than 7.4 million coronavirus cases have been diagnosed worldwide, more than 2 million of which are in the U.S., the most impacted country on the planet.
Fox News' Kayla Rivas contributed to this story.