US pharma company says early tests of corona vaccine show promising results

The US-based biotech company Moderna on Monday reported promising early results from the first tests of an experimental vaccine against the coronavirus.

Moderna said that the vaccine, mRNA-1273, appeared to produce an immune response in 8 patients who received it, and that it “was generally safe and well tolerated”, as they suffered no more than redness or soreness from the shots.

“We could not be happier about these interim data”, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said of the Phase 1 test, the first of three in the development of a vaccine.

“These interim Phase 1 data, while early, demonstrate that vaccination with mRNA-1273 elicits an immune response of the magnitude caused by natural infection. 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”, Moderna’s chief medical officer Tal Zaks said.

The US government has invested nearly half a billion dollars in the development of Moderna’s experimental vaccine. President Donald Trump welcomed the announcement, saying: “It’s incredible what they can do and I’ve seen results. And the results are staggeringly good”.

Phase 1 is where 3 groups of 15 patients received three different doses of the vaccine. Phase 2, with 600 subjects, has already been greenlighted from the US Food and Drug Administration. The final phase is expected to begin in July.

Researchers stressed, however, that it will not be until the Phase 3 trial is completed that it will be known whether the vaccine prevents the disease.

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