BREAKING NEWS: Afeyan’s Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Gets FDA’s “Fast Track” Status.

On Tuesday, biopharmaceutical company Moderna announced that the Food and Drug Administration is fast tracking its experimental preventative COVID-19 vaccine through the regulatory process.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company plans to start a phase two trial of the vaccine at the beginning of summer, though they did not announce when the vaccine may be available to consumers.

Moderna has received $500 million in federal cash to back development of the vaccine, according to Forbes.

Fast track is a “process designed to facilitate the development, and expedite the review of drugs to treat serious conditions and fill an unmet medical need,” according to the FDA, doing so by increasing frequency of communication with the FDA, which can approve fast-tracked drugs on priority and rolling bases, if needed.

There is no vaccine or cure for coronavirus, and the vaccine is held up by top experts as the best hope of returning to life pre-COVID-19.

The phase two trial will test the vaccine on “several hundred” volunteers to assess whether it effectively makes them immune to COVID-19; phase one of testing started in Seattle on March 16, according to USA Today.

When the genomic makeup of COVID-19 was released by Chinese researchers on January 11, the Moderna team had a vaccine design ready 48 hours later, according to Forbes, and shipped a batch of its first vaccine candidate to the National Institutes of Health 42 days later for a phase one study. Vaccines typically take years to decades to go from design to market. Coronavirus has been an exception—with pharma companies racing alongside governments around the world to develop a vaccine to battle the pandemic.

The speed of Moderna’s development is due to a new technology, mRNA, per Forbes, which acts by telling “your cells to produce particular proteins.” In theory, this makes vaccine development quicker and safer and more effective at immunization.

H/T Forbes

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