Moderna will likely know if its coronavirus vaccine works by November

Moderna headquarters.
(Image credit: JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

Moderna is ramping up to have its coronavirus vaccine to the public early next year.

Stephane Bancel, CEO of the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech company, told The Boston Globe that Moderna originally planned to determine its vaccine's effectiveness in October. But because infection rates are slowing, "which is great for the country," Bancel added, it's becoming "less and less probable" Moderna will have definitive results by then. "We've said November," Bancel said, but that timetable could stretch into December if infections slow even further.

Determining a vaccine's effectiveness requires there's a good amount of coronavirus infections out there, as a developer needs to know if the vaccine protects people from a virus better than a placebo. The Food and Drug Administration requires a vaccine to prevent at least 50 percent of infections to be considered effective. More than 25,000 people are currently enrolled in Moderna's phase three trial across the country.

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If everything pans out, Bancel said Moderna will seek an emergency use authorization from the FDA to speed up the vaccine's approval process. And when that happens, Moderna can ship out the doses of the vaccine it has already produced to the federal government. The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense pledged $1.5 billion for 100 million doses of Moderna's vaccine, but Bancel said that many doses won't be ready until early 2021.

Moderna's vaccine is among several the government is helping fund in hopes of rolling out hundreds of millions of doses as soon as possible. Read more at The Boston Globe.

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Kathryn Krawczyk

Kathryn is a graduate of Syracuse University, with degrees in magazine journalism and information technology, along with hours to earn another degree after working at SU's independent paper The Daily Orange. She's currently recovering from a horse addiction while living in New York City, and likes to share her extremely dry sense of humor on Twitter.