How do you pronounce 1273 here? One, two, seven, three?
Efficacy and Safety of the mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine
Published: December 30, 2020
Source: New England Journal of Medicine
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If you want to pronounce it the way the experts in the industry would, including the scientists and clinicians who developed, researched, and actually named it, then it's "twelve seventy-three".
From my personal experience, though I haven't been personally involved in the development of this vaccine, I work in clinical trials of experimental drugs with similar designations, and four-digit drug designations like this are almost universally pronounced, by native English speakers, as pairs of two-digit numbers (except if the first or third digit is a zero, like 0103).
There is one exception. If an expert was introducing the designation to an audience for the first time (e.g., at the beginning of a talk), he or she might spell it out as "one two seven three" the first time it was used, just for clarity. I'm quite certain that no expert would ever read the number out in full as "one thousand two hundred and seventy-three".
In this specific case, there is compelling video evidence for the "twelve seventy-three" pronunciation. You can find a video in NEJM's twitter feed where this pronunciation is used at the 0:16 mark. Even more convincingly, you can watch the FDA hearing on YouTube for the emergency use authorization of the vaccine and hear Dr. Fink (Deputy Director of the vaccines division at FDA) around 26:50, and Dr. Zaks (Chief Medical Officer at Moderna) around 1:45:29, both use the "twelve seventy-three" pronunciation.
As @JohnMontgomery mentioned in a comment, this convention isn't exclusive to designations of experimental drugs. English speakers will often pronounce four-digit years this way, like "nineteen eighty-four" and "twenty twenty-one". Other four-digit identifiers like model numbers might also be pronounced this way.
However, it would usually be wrong to pronounce four-digit amounts this way, especially if the unit (e.g., "dollars") is part of the phrase being spoken. If you have $1273 in your pocket, it's either "one thousand two hundred and seventy-three dollars" or "twelve hundred and seventy-three dollars", but not "twelve seventy-three dollars".
With very new terms like this, there little established use, and a lot of variation between speakers.
As far as I can tell, this was the one-thousand-two-hundred-seventy-third mRNA substance that was tested, so reading as number "one thousand...three" is arguably "correct"
But that is "a mouthful", so most speakers will reduce it to one-two-seven-three.
I'm sure you will also hear "twelve-seventy-three". But in speech, few people will use this code at all. It is "The Moderna vaccine" The number is most useful for the scientists at Moderna (who had already tried 1272 other mRNA substances and need a name to distinguish between the trials)
Yeah, you're right. It's usually pronounced m R N A one two seven three (each letter separately), but can also be pronounced in other ways (such as one thousand, two hundred, and seventy-three as @KRyan pointed out in a comment).
A cursory search for mRNA 1273 on Youglish yielded one video where the speaker pronounces it m R N A one two seven three.
Actually the proper English way to pronounce 1273 in English is to say "one thousand, two hundred and seventy-three".
The other answers are wrong as they fail to explain the proper English way of saying it, and instead they use colloquial or slang English. It doesn't matter if the scientists refer to it in the way the other answers do, as the scientists aren't using proper English either. Anyone can speak in English, but not everyone uses proper English, colloquially known as “the Queen's English”.
However, people prefer not to use the proper pronunciation as it's long and a mouthful to say, so for convenience, conciseness, and succinctness, they prefer to say "one two seven three" or "twelve seventy-three".
Saying a large number
We say large numbers by listing the numbers in order of size, biggest first. When reading a single number, all the number labels should be singular, for example 10,400 is ten thousand four hundred and not ten thousands four hundreds.
We describe three digit numbers in hundreds, then tens. Generally, in British English we usually connect large numbers with double or single digit figures with and, but in American English and is not used. Note that hundreds, thousands and millions are not connected to each other with and, though.
345 is three hundred and forty-five (three hundred forty five in American). 59,321 is fifty nine thousand, three hundred and twenty one. (not fifty nine thousand and three hundred…)
Naming large numbers exercise
Practise reading these numbers out loud:
4,567 – four thousand, five hundred and sixty-seven