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Moderna reports positive early results from coronavirus vaccine trial

In a major development, biotech firm Moderna on Monday announced that early-stage human trial for its coronavirus vaccine produced COVID-19 antibodies in all 45 participants.

Releasing the data on the human trial of the vaccine, Moderna chief medical officer Dr. Tal Zaks said that each participant received a 25, 100 or 250 microgram dose, with 15 people in each dose group.

“Participants received two doses of the potential vaccine via intramuscular injection in the upper arm approximately 28 days apart.”

Two weeks following the second dose, levels of binding antibodies in the 25 microgram group were at the levels generally seen in blood samples from people who recovered from the disease, he added.

Those in the 100 microgram had antibodies that “significantly exceeded levels” in recovered patients. Data on a second dose was not available for the 250 microgram group, the official said and added that the vaccine also produced neutralizing antibodies against the disease in at least eight participants, CNBC reported.

Four participants were assigned to receive a 25 microgram dose, while the other four received 100 micrograms. Levels of neutralizing antibodies were at or above levels seen in blood samples. Data on neutralizing antibodies for the other participants were not yet available, Moderna said.

“These interim Phase 1 data, while early, demonstrate that vaccination with mRNA-1273 elicits an immune response of the magnitude caused by natural infection starting with a dose as low as 25 (micrograms),” Dr. Tal Zaks said.

“When combined with the success in preventing viral replication in the lungs of a pre-clinical challenge model at a dose that elicited similar levels of neutralizing antibodies, these data substantiate our belief that mRNA-1273 has the potential to prevent COVID-19 disease and advance our ability to select a dose for pivotal trials.”

It is pertinent to mention here that more than 100 vaccines are under development globally, off them at least eight vaccines are in human trials.

The early signs of progress during the vaccine trial have sent the biotech company’s shares surging over 17 per cent in the international market.

The company said it expects to begin a phase 3 trial in July.

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