Moderna reports ‘positive’ results from early data on coronavirus vaccine

The biotech company Moderna on Monday reported “positive” data on its potential coronavirus vaccine from an early clinical trial, raising hopes about the effort.

The company said early data from a phase one clinical trial showed that people given the potential vaccine generated an immune response similar to that in people who had recovered from the disease.

The levels of neutralizing antibodies were “at or above” the levels seen in blood samples from people who have recovered from the coronavirus, Moderna said in a statement.

Still, that early result is only from the first eight participants in the trial.

“These interim Phase 1 data, while early, demonstrate that vaccination with mRNA-1273 elicits an immune response of the magnitude caused by natural infection starting with a dose as low as 25 [micrograms],” Tal Zaks, chief medical officer at Moderna, said in a statement.

“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,” he added, referring to the potential vaccine.

The company also said the vaccine was “generally safe and well tolerated.” All side-effects, including redness in one participant around the injection site, have so far been “transient and self-resolving,” the company noted, adding that no “serious” side-effects have been reported.

Additionally, the potential vaccine was successful in preventing the virus from replicating in mice’s lungs in another study, Moderna said.

The company, which is working with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, led by Anthony Fauci, is about to begin a phase two trial and said it hopes to begin a phase three trial in July.

“We are investing to scale up manufacturing so we can maximize the number of doses we can produce to help protect as many people as we can from SARS-CoV-2,” said the company’s CEO, Stéphane Bancel.

Updated at 8:25 a.m.

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