Moderna COVID Vaccine Shows Early Promise in Phase 1 Human Trials
Moderna vaccine appears to be able to stimulate immune response against the infection in the first 8 volunteers.
A coronavirus vaccine by US-based Moderna appears to be safe and able to stimulate an immune response against the infection in the first 8 healthy volunteers. Large human trials are set to begin soon.
These are preliminary findings, but do offer some hope to a world getting exhausted with the pandemic.
Moderna, the first to begin human trials, gave two doses of their vaccine to 8 volunteers. The technology in use is relatively new - it involves using genetic material from the virus called mRNA. This method has not been used to create an vaccine so far.
The vaccine was developed by The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the biotechnology company Moderna.
It uses a genetic platform called mRNA, short for messenger RNA, which directs the body’s cells to stimulate the immune system. The vaccine, developed using previous studies of related coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS, has already shown promise in animal models.
The company has received fast-track approval from the FDA and is set to enter Phase 2 testing, which will involve around 600 healthy volunteers.
It has collaborated with Lonza Ltd., a Swiss biotech company, to manufacture up to one billion doses of the vaccine per year.
Over 100 candidate vaccines are in development right now. Recent estimates suggest it could take at least 12-18 months till we actually have one available for use. But this itself could be record-breaking speed. For instance, the mumps vaccine, which was the fastest ever approved — took four years to develop.
Several experts have indicated that we will need not one, but several vaccines to tackle the coronavirus. It's manufacturing and distribution will be key.
But World Health Organisation (WHO) has also warned that there may be no effective vaccine, and the virus will become something humans will have to learn to live with.
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