Moderna vaccine shows early promise in human trial, stock soars

Grant Boone
May 22, 2020

There are now no approved treatments or vaccines for Covid-19, and experts predict a safe and effective vaccine could take 12 to 18 months from the start of development, which in Moderna's case was in January.

Moderna said that additional tests in mice that were vaccinated and then infected found that the vaccine could prevent the virus from replicating in their lungs and that the animals had levels of neutralizing antibodies comparable to those in the people who had received the vaccine.

Critically, eight of them had produced "neutralising" antibodies - the ones that confer the greatest protection.

The company has said that it is proceeding on an accelerated timetable, with the second phase involving 600 people to begin soon, and a third phase to begin in July involving thousands of healthy people.

It also said there are no formally approved treatments for COVID-19, which has killed at least 315,225 and sickened 4.7 million people worldwide since emerging from the Chinese city of Wuhan more than four months ago.

While Moderna's study was small (only eight people were included in the human trial) the results have left scientists cautiously optimistic.

Manning said that, overall, vaccines are developed particularly for pathogens and agents that cause the highest frequencies and worst diseases that we've seen throughout history.

An American coronavirus vaccine trial has delivered promising signs that researchers are on the cusp of finding a proper weapon against the pandemic.

Wisconsin woman took hydroxychloroquine for 19 years, still got coronavirus
She went to an urgent care clinic, where her oxygen saturation level was recorded at 78%, far below the healthy norm of 95%. The fever was very high", Kim told WISN. "I'm on the hydroxychloroquine, '" Kim said. "I couldn't breathe no more".

When an analyst asked during Monday's conference call whether Moderna measured the activity of T cells after vaccination with mRNA-1273, the company's chief medical officer, Tal Zaks, M.D., Ph.D., said he had no data on that to share. Why is NIAID, who partners Moderna in the study, tight-lipped on the development?

Three doses of the vaccine were tested: low, medium and high. US government officials have launched a project called "Operation Warp Speed" to develop a vaccine and hopefully have 300 million doses by January.

"The lower the dose, the more people we expect to be able to protect", said Moderna president Stephen Hoge. "Levels of neutralising antibodies were at or above levels seen in blood samples, and data on neutralizing antibodies for the other participants were not yet available", the Moderna statement reads.

The company is working out a plan to provide vaccine to countries outside of the United States, Zaks said.

The most notable side effects reported from the early testing of Moderna's vaccine were three participants with "flu-like" symptoms following a second shot of the highest dose.

According to medical researchers, this is only the first of many steps needed in order to ascertain the safety and efficacy of this vaccine, which must still undergo several phases of clinical trials in order to reach the distribution stage. It was first published on May 19, 2020.

"We still do not know whether mRNA-1273 is in fact protective against coronavirus infection in humans", said BMO Capital Markets' George Farmer.

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