GZERO VIDEO: Moderna's vaccine is 10 years in the making

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NEW YORK (GZERO MEDIA) - The success of Moderna's 10-month-old vaccine is 10 years in the making, says co-founder and chairman of the American biotechnology company, Mr Noubar Afeyan.

Speaking to political scientist and founder of Eurasia Group, Mr Ian Bremmer, he said that the company's success in phase three trials has been bolstered by years of research and development.

"So there isn't much time to look back but certainly, it is a super gratifying and sense of relief to know that the science and the technology that Moderna pioneered, some 10 years ago, seems to be having a pretty significant impact," said Mr Afeyan.

Amid industry heavyweights such as Pfizer, Moderna shot to fame in July when it moved its vaccine candidate to human trials in a record-setting 63 days. It now plans to deliver 500 million to 1 billion doses of the vaccine a year from 2021.

When asked what made Moderna's vaccine unprecedented in human beings, Mr Afeyan explained that it employs a new technology called messenger RNA (mRNA) to deliver modified genetic code to the body of subjects.

"And inside the body, we have specially formulated this such that the mRNA can get into certain cells that, in turn, translate the mRNA into protein... but the protein we have coded for is a protein that is on the surface of the coronavirus."

While mRNA has never before been used in licensed pharmaceutical practice, a late-stage study by Moderna in November showed that its vaccine is 94.1 per cent effective.

The company must now focus on distributing the vaccine across the planet, and it plans to do that through people and partnerships, said Mr Afeyan.

"We forged an early relationship with one of the leading, if not the largest, independent contract manufacturers of biologics: a company called Lonza... but for them, we would not have quite the path that we have had in terms of scaling."

This GZERO media video is being shown here as part of a media partnership agreement with The Straits Times.

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