Biotech company Moderna confirmed on Thursday that it is on track to begin the final-stage clinical trial of its experimental vaccine to treat the novel coronavirus by July. The final-stage trial that will involve thousands of volunteers will be conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIH) in the United States.
The announcement is another indication that Covid-19 vaccine trials are moving at a rapid pace globally with more than 10 companies now having entered the clinical trial phase. Moderna certainly has been one of the frontrunners in developing a vaccine to treat coronavirus. Less than a month ago, the company announced that the first results in human trial for a coronavirus vaccine was satisfactory.
The Primary Goal
Moderna will start the final-stage clinical trial of Covid-19 vaccine candidate mRna-1273 on as many as 30,000 people. The primary goal in the final leg of the clinical trials will be to prove that the experimental vaccine can prevent people from developing symptoms of coronavirus. Secondly, the vaccine can prevent severe symptoms and cases that require hospitalization from materializing.
The company said that it has already enrolled 350 people for the trial and will be soon roping in more to meet its target sample size. This includes 300 healthy adults who are 54 years and below, while the other 50 are older than that. The final-stage study will see Moderna using 100 milligram dose of the study on the selected candidates.
A Ray of Hope for Trillions
The 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. Many companies are moving faster than Moderna in an attempt to find a Covid-19 vaccine at the earliest.
Moderna's announcement comes a day after Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said that it has started clinical trials of its antibody cocktail across the United States. AstraZeneca, which is developing a vaccine in collaboration with the University of Oxford, said that it will start its final-stage clinical trial this month.
Also, Johnson & Johnson announced a day earlier that it will be entering the first phase clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine candidate in July, ahead of its earlier schedule to start testing in September. Last month, Moderna started the second-stage trial of its potential Covid-19 vaccine involving 600 healthy adults. The biotech giant also became the first company to announce data on human trial testing of the possible coronavirus vaccine.
The test results of the first doses of the vaccine candidate mRNA-1273 were found to be safe on the 45 participants and well tolerated in the early-stage study. The company said that 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.
If everything falls into place Moderna also plans to ramp up production of the vaccine in the coming weeks. The company expects to deliver around 500 million does per year and almost up to one billion does per year starting 2021.