Moderna Slows Vaccine Trial Enrollment to Ensure Minority Representation

The slowdown is meant to ensure Moderna has enough minorities, who are most at risk of the disease, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel tells CNBC.
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Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Report, one of the leading contenders for a coronavirus vaccine, announced on CNBC a slight deceleration of enrollment in its clinical trial of the vaccine.

The enrollment slowdown is meant to ensure Moderna has enough minorities, who are most at risk of the disease, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told the network. CNBC didn’t mention specific numbers on the enrollment slowdown.

Moderna shares recently traded at $62.33, down 3.87%. They have soared 218% so far this year amid enthusiasm over a coronavirus vaccine.

Moderna’s trial goal is to test 30,000 people in the U.S. to prove the vaccine’s safety and efficacy. As of Aug. 28, it had 17,458 people, and 24% of that number came from minorities, the CNBC report said.

Moderna said two-thirds of trial enrollees are white, 20% are Hispanic/Latino, and 7% are Black. The company wants its minority numbers to match those of the Census Bureau, Bancel told CNBC.

The bureau estimated last year that Hispanics/Latinos make up 18.5% of the population, and that Blacks account for 13.4%.

Some experts see Moderna or Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Report with the best chance of coming out with an effective vaccine first.

Last month, Moderna reported progress in a clinical trial of its coronavirus-vaccine candidate.

The report related particularly to the vaccine’s impact on older patients: The immune responses to the drug in people 56 and older were similar to those seen in younger adults.

That's important because Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has proved deadlier for older patients than for younger ones.