(Reuters) – Drug developer Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) on Friday said it has so far enrolled 13,194 participants in the ongoing late-stage 30,000-volunteer U.S. trial testing its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
In a tweet, the company also said that 18% of the participants currently enrolled are Black, Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, groups among the hardest hit by the coronavirus virus pandemic.
Moderna began the study of its vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, in July and expects to complete enrollment in September. The 30,000 subject U.S. trial is among the first late-stage studies supported by the Trump administration’s effort to speed development of measures against the novel coronavirus, adding to hope that an effective vaccine will help end the pandemic.
Last week, the company entered a supply agreement with the U.S. government to provide 100 million doses of its potential COVID-19 vaccine for around $1.5 billion.
Moderna, which has never brought a vaccine to market, had earlier received nearly $1 billion from the U.S. government, which is helping bankroll several vaccine candidates under its Operation Warp Speed program.
Black and Latino Americans are infected with COVID-19 at more than twice the rate of white Americans, with Native Americans infected at even higher rates, research has shown. The groups are historically underrepresented in clinical trials.
A top executive of Pfizer (PFE.N) told Reuters that about 19% of the 11,000 people enrolled so far in a 30,000-volunteer U.S. trial of its COVID-19 vaccine with German partner BioNTech (22UAy.F) are Black or Latino.
Reporting By Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall
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