Moderna stock rocketed Monday after the company dosed the first participant in a study of its potential HIV vaccine.
So far, it has proven impossible to vaccinate against HIV, since the virus mutates too rapidly. But Modern (MRNA) is using a newer technology based on messenger RNA, or mRNA.
“Developing a vaccine regimen that induces sustained protective levels of HIV-neutralizing antibodies in humans has been difficult to achieve,” Modern President Stephen Hoge said in a written statement. “At Moderna, we believe that mRNA offers an opportunity to take a fresh approach to this challenge.”
On the stock market today, Modern stock surged 8.6% to 150.07.
Modern Stock: Mimicking Protein-Creation
Messenger RNA is the body’s mechanism for creating proteins. Modern hijacks that process by telling the body to make a specific protein. In the case of the Covid vaccine, it tells the body to make a spike protein. This helps the immune system mount a defense before it sees the actual virus. Moderna stock surged in 2020-21 on the promise for this technology.
In the case of the HIV study, Moderna will enroll 100 adults who do not have HIV. The company hopes its vaccine will help their immune systems create antibodies capable of blocking the virus. The vaccine uses technology developed by Dr. William Schief, executive director of vaccine development at IAVI’s Neutralizing Antibody Center. IAVI is a nonprofit scientific research group.
A division of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is sponsoring and funding the test. The NIAID also partnered with Moderna on early-stage testing of its Covid vaccine in 2020.
HIV Treatments Exist
The news sent Moderna stock within striking distance of its 50-day line, according to MarketSmith.com.
HIV leads to the immune system conditions known as AIDS. There are HIV treatments from companies like Gilead Sciences (VALID). But patients must take them for life.
Moderna is putting its mRNA technology to the test in two HIV vaccines. The second uses antigens from the virus. That study is sponsored by IAVI and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Modern stock remains under pressure in 2022, however. Shares hit a recent peak in November and have fallen since.
Follow Allison Gatlin on Twitter at @IBD_AGatlin.
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