Moderna on Monday announced that the first results in human trial for a coronavirus vaccine conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) successfully produced Covid-19 antibodies in all the 45 participants. The levels of antibodies were similar to those in blood samples of patients who have recovered from Covid-19.
This certainly is a big achievement so far in the race to develop a vaccine for the deadly coronavirus. Moderna has been one of the frontrunners in developing a vaccine to treat coronavirus that has killed at least 315,225 and infected more than 4.7 million people.
Moderna Takes the Lead
Moderna on Monday said that the test results of the first doses of the vaccine candidate mRNA-1273 was found to be safe on the 45 participants and well tolerated in the early stage study. The participants were given three different doses of the experimental vaccine candidate and Moderna said it saw dose-dependent increase in immunogenicity, which means the drug's ability to generate antibodies and provoke and immune response in the patient's body.
Each participant was executed a dosage of 25 microgram, 100 microgram and 250 microgram in each group. Two of the doses of the vaccine were given to the participants via intramuscular injection in the upper arm at an interval of 28 days. However, data for the 250 microgram dose is still awaited.
Moderna said two weeks after the second dose or approximately 43 days after the first dose, it was seen that levels of binding antibodies in the group administered 25 microgram dose were found to be almost similar in blood samples of patients who recovered from Covid-19. Antibodies in participants administered 100 microgram dose of the vaccine were significantly higher than levels from those recovered who from Covid-19.
Also, the vaccine successfully produced neutralizing antibodies against Covid-19 in at least eight participants. This seems to be a big breakthrough given that experts have been saying that neutralizing antibodies appear to be important in acquiring protection against the virus.
Search for Vaccine Continues
U.S. government leaders have put forward the ambitious timeline to have a vaccine to treat coronavirus by the end of 2020. However, it typically takes several years to develop a vaccine. Moderna is the first company to announce data on human trial testing of a possible coronavirus vaccine.
More than a 100 vaccines are under different stages of development globally, with eight having entered human trial phase. Moderna, which is working with the National Institutes of Health to develop a vaccine, also became the first company to get approval for a human phase trial.
Last week, Moderna also became the first company to gain a 'Fast Track' status from the Food and Drug Administration. Fast Track is designed to facilitate the development and expedite the review of therapies and vaccines for serious conditions and fill an unmet medical need.
The drugmaker expects to begin its phase 3 trial of the vaccine in July. It has also enrolled around 600 participants for its phase 2 trial, and if the drug is found to be effective and safe for use, the company said it could make available the vaccine for the market as early as in 2021.