Moderna, the renowned biotechnology company, is gearing up to initiate phase 1/2 clinical trials for its mpox vaccine this summer.

Hamilton Bennett, Moderna's senior director of vaccine access and partnerships, revealed the company's plan during an interview at the BIO International Convention, per Fierce Biotech.

While the mpox vaccine was initially put on hold when the immediate outbreak subsided, it has now become a priority for Moderna. Bennett anticipates that the vaccine will enter the clinic within a month or so.

The objective of the upcoming trials is to establish a comprehensive preclinical data package demonstrating efficacy against orthopoxviruses, including mpox and smallpox. Moderna aims to generate robust phase 1/2 data to guide dose selection and eventual licensure.

Bennett acknowledged the invaluable support received from the U.S. mpox response team, who have assisted Moderna by providing access to samples, personnel and crucial information.

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel had previously stated that developing an mpox vaccine was not of high priority, given the company's focus on multiple assets, including the COVID-19 vaccine. However, Bennett clarified that Bancel's comment referred to the relative urgency during the pandemic.

The forthcoming trials exemplify the agility of Moderna's mRNA platform. In May 2022, the company announced its intention to initiate preclinical work on an mpox vaccine. Prior to Bancel's comments earlier this year, no updates had been provided regarding the progress of the vaccine.

Bennett emphasized that mpox highlights some of the challenges Moderna may encounter in developing such products. Presently, funding for an mpox vaccine is predominantly allocated for a smallpox vaccine.

Nevertheless, the company recognizes the importance of proactively addressing diseases of significance, even if they primarily affect non-high-income countries.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued a warning about an increase in cases of the infectious mpox disease. Transmitted through direct contact, the disease manifests in the form of rashes and infectious sores.

While many cases have been linked to the LGBTQ+ community, particularly among men who have sex with other men, medical experts from the Vermont Department of Health cautioned that anyone can contract it.

Richard Elliot from the Pride Center of Vermont stressed the importance of dispelling misconceptions and avoiding stigmatization based on the origin of the virus or disease.

"News broke last year about mpox where there was a hotspot of an outbreak out in some of the European countries during Pride of last year. People think about where it's started and start thinking these individuals are the ones that carry this virus and disease," Elliot said, per My NBC5.