• Drug company Moderna sent samples of the first potential coronavirus vaccine.
  • Clinical trials are expected to start in April.

The drug manufacturer Moderna Inc. has sent the first samples of a potential coronavirus vaccine to U.S government researchers. The experimental vaccine will now be tested on humans, Moderna announced Monday

According to the Wall Street Journal, Moderna dispatched vaccine vials to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda, Md. The clinic aims to test the vaccine on about 20 to 25 healthy volunteers by late April. The goal of the study will be to see if two doses of the vaccine are safe and produce a response in the immune system to fight off COVID-19 infection. 

Results from this study will then arrive in July or August of this year.

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NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci told the Journal that this is an unprecedented speed at which a potential vaccine for a global disease outbreak could be created. Prior novel virus outbreaks, such as the comparable SARS and influenza, have previously ravaged the globe for 20 to 11 months, respectively, prior to a vaccine being tested on humans. The hopeful vaccine for the COVID-19 only took about four months to be developed and tested since the disease outbreak. 

“Going into a Phase One trial within three months of getting the sequence is unquestionably the world indoor record. Nothing has ever gone that fast,” according to Fauci

While it is uncertain that Moderna’s answer is the solution, Fauci notes that the only surefire way to stop an outbreak is to develop a vaccine. Moderna manufactures drugs around messenger RNA molecules that carry instructions to reprogram cells in the body to operate differently and beneficially. Currently, its genetic technology has not created a vaccine for humans. 

The first study of the vaccine will take place at NIAID. If it is successful, a second trial would feature closer to hundreds of people. Pending the results of future studies and regulations, the vaccine may not be readily available until next year, Fauci said.

With Moderna being the first drug maker to manufacture and ship a coronavirus vaccine, the company’s stock has jumped a reported 18 percent, reports say.

Published on Feb 25, 2020