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Moderna Rises as Testing Shows COVID Antibodies Last at Least 6 Months

The latest results place the effectiveness of Moderna's COVID vaccine on par with that of Pfizer and BioNTech's offering.
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Shares of Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Moderna Inc. Report rose Tuesday after the company announced that its COVID-19 vaccine generated antibodies that lasted at least six months after the second dose in a small-sample size study. 

This matched similar results announced recently for the vaccine developed by BioNTech SE  (BNTX) - Get BioNTech SE Report and Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report.

Interim results from a trial of 33 healthy patients treated with Moderna's mRNA-1273 vaccine indicated 94% efficacy in preventing COVID-19.

Antibody activity remained high in all age groups -- participants ranged between 18-55, 56-70 and 71+ -- for 209 days. Nearly all participants had evidence of COVID neutralization.

Shares of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna rose 2.8% to $133.53 on Tuesday. 

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Last week, German-based BioNTech and New York-based partner Pfizer boosted the manufacturing capacity for their COVID-19 vaccine to 2.5 billion doses by the end of the year, compared to a previous estimate of between 2.3billion and 2.4 billion doses. 

The two companies also said that their vaccine had tested to be effective against the South African variant of the disease.  

BioNTech also projected sales of close to €10 billion, roughly $11.73 billion, from the vaccine in 2021.

BioNTech and Pfizer have signed orders of 1.4 billion doses for delivery this year, and discussions for additional dose commitments are ongoing.

The U.S. has administered 169 million doses of the vaccine to date, as the number of COVID-related deaths has dropped to its lowest level -- 353 COVID-related deaths on April 5 with a 7-day moving average of 745 -- since November, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The U.S. hit a high of 4,408 deaths on Jan. 20.