US biotechnology company Moderna, announced on Monday, May 18, favorable early results from its first human safety tests.
Moderna has vaccinated dozens of study participants in this trial.
The first eight people who received low and medium doses of Moderna’s vaccine had developed neutralizing antibodies to the virus similar or greater than the levels seen in people who’ve naturally recovered from Covid-19.
“If future studies go well, the company’s vaccine could be available to the public as early as January.”, Dr. Tal Zaks, Moderna’s chief medical officer said.
The study is known as a Phase 1 trial, which typically studies a small number of people and focuses on whether the vaccine is safe, rather than whether it is effective.
It will take larger trials to see if people are protected against the virus. However, experiments on mice showed the vaccine could prevent the virus replicating in their lungs.
While the vaccine had promising results in the lab, it’s not known if it will protect people in the real world.
The Phase 2 trial of the vaccine has already received the green light from the US Food and Drug Administration and Moderna said they should begin this quarter.
A Phase 3 trial, the largest and most important to validate the efficacy of a vaccine, should begin in July.
Based on the Phase 1 partial results, Moderna said they would no longer study the highest dose since the lower doses appeared to provide some effect.
The US government has invested nearly half a billion dollars in the development of Moderna’s vaccine candidate.
Moderna, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one of eight developers worldwide doing human clinical trials with a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization. Two others, Pfizer and Inovio, are also in th United States, one is at the University of Oxford in Britain, and four are in China.
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