Moderna on track to deliver 100 million vaccine doses by end of March, 200 million by June

Cambridge-based biotech company Moderna is still on track to deliver 100 million coronavirus vaccine doses in the United States by the end of March, a number that will double by the end of June, according to a Tuesday announcement. 

More than 30 million Moderna vaccine doses have already been supplied to the U.S. government, according to the company, and about 10 million have been administered.

Coronavirus vaccine rollout in the United States has gone slower than anticipated, and is ramping up as new and more contagious variants threaten chances of reducing cases and deaths.

Moderna said Monday that its vaccine works against the new variants originally found in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

But out an abundance of caution, the company will test an additional booster dose of the vaccine to study the ability to further increase the probability of neutralizing emerging variants.

The company is also advancing a booster candidate targeted at the South Africa variant of the coronavirus, which reduced neutralizing titer levels, but not enough to impact efficacy.

There have now been 293 coronavirus cases caused by variants in the United States and three in Massachusetts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“As we seek to defeat the COVID-19 virus, which has created a worldwide pandemic, we believe it is imperative to be proactive as the virus evolves. We are encouraged by these new data, which reinforce our confidence that the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine should be protective against these newly detected variants,” said Stephane Bancel, CEO of Moderna.

Moderna’s vaccine is authorized for use in people 18 and older, but clinical trials to study its effects in children age 12 to 17 are underway with one that is starting enrollment next month at UMass Medical School, the university announced.

Such a trial will be the first time the Moderna vaccine is being tested in children and similar studies are also underway for Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine which is authorized for use in people 16 and older.

In other vaccine news, phase 3 data of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose coronavirus vaccine candidate will be available soon, according to the company.

The one shot vaccine could usher in another wave of help in beating back the pandemic and could offer simpler logistics as patients will not have to return for a second dose.

Interim results of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine candidate show it provided an immune response for at least 71 days and neutralizing antibodies were triggered in 90% of trial participants 29 days after the shot and 100% of people after 57 days.

Unlike Moderna and Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is not made from mRNA, but is a viral vector vaccine, a platform that has been used to develop vaccine candidates for Ebola, Zika and HIV.

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