The US government has now invested nearly $6 billion in an effort led by President Biden to provide a lifeline to Moderna amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Those analyzing the COVID-19 crisis and its effects have mostly focused on how its disruptive nature has led to major shifts and recalibrations throughout society and the economy. Such disruption has also lent itself to a variety of agendas that had required an event of “reset” potential in order to be realized. In the case of the vaccine industry, COVID-19 has led to dramatic changes in how federal agencies manage the approval of medical countermeasures during a declared crisis, how trials for vaccine candidates are conducted, how the public perceives vaccination, and even how the term “vaccine” is defined.
Such shifts, though obvious, have provoked praise from some and sharp criticism from others, with the latter category being largely censored from public discourse on television, in print, and online. However, in objectively analyzing such seismic changes, it’s clear that most of these shifts in vaccine development and vaccine policy dramatically favor speed and the implementation of new and experimental technology at the expense of safety and thorough study. In the case of vaccines, it can be argued that no one benefitted more from these changes than the developers of the COVID-19 vaccines themselves, particularly the pharmaceutical and biotechnology company Moderna.
Not only did the COVID-19 crisis obliterate hurdles that had previously prevented Moderna from taking a single product to market, it also dramatically reversed the company’s fortunes. Indeed, from 2016 right up until the emergence of COVID-19, Moderna could barely hold it together, as it was shedding key executives, top talent, and major investors at an alarming rate. Essentially, Moderna’s promise of “revolutionizing” medicine and the remarkable salesmanship and fund-raising capabilities of the company’s top executive, Stéphane Bancel, were the main forces keeping it afloat. In the years leading up to the COVID-19 crisis, Moderna’s promises—despite Bancel’s efforts—rang increasingly hollow, as the company’s long-standing penchant for extreme secrecy meant that—despite nearly a decade in business—it had never been able to definitively prove that it could deliver the “revolution” it had continually assured investors was right around the corner.
This was compounded by major issues with patents held by a hostile competitor that threatened Moderna’s ability to turn a profit on anything it might manage to take to market, as well as major issues with its mRNA delivery system that led them to abandon any treatment that would require more than one dose because of toxicity concerns. The latter issue, though largely forgotten and/or ignored by media today, should be a major topic in the COVID-19 booster debate, given that there is still no evidence that Moderna ever resolved the toxicity issue that arose in multi-dose products.
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In this first installment of a two-part series, the dire situation in which Moderna found itself immediately prior to the emergence of COVID-19 is discussed in detail, revealing that Moderna—very much like the now disgraced company Theranos—had long been a house of cards with sky-high valuations completely disconnected from reality. Part 2 will explore how that reality would have come crashing down sometime in 2020 or 2021 were it not for the advent of the COVID-19 crisis and Moderna’s subsequent partnership with the US government and the highly unusual processes involving its vaccine’s development and approval. Despite the emergence of real-world data challenging the claims that Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, Moderna’s booster is being rushed through by some governments, while others have recently banned the vaccine’s use in young adults and teens due to safety concerns.
As this two-part series will show, safety concerns about Moderna were known well before the COVID crisis, yet they have been ignored by health authorities and the media during the crisis itself. In addition, in order to stave off collapse, Moderna must keep selling its COVID-19 vaccine for years to come. In other words, without the approval of its booster, which has caused great controversy even among the country’s top vaccine officials, Moderna faces a massive financial reckoning. While the COVID-19 crisis threw the company a lifeboat, the administration of its COVID-19 vaccine, in which the US government has now invested nearly $6 billion, must continue into the foreseeable future for the bailout to be truly successful. Otherwise, a company now worth $126.7 billion, with major investments from the US government, US military, and ties to the world’s wealthiest individuals, will crumble in short order.
The pile of low-interest debt that was issued during COVID lockdowns was the main reason, but what triggered the current financial crisis was the government raising interest rates suddenly.
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