Pharmaceutical company Moderna said Tuesday it will begin a new phase of testing for its coronavirus vaccine later this month after all patients who took part in an initial trial showed “robust” responses to the drug.
All 45 volunteers in the study developed “rapid and strong immune responses” when administered the vaccine, with none of the participants showing severe side effects, according to Moderna.
Moderna developed the vaccine in coordination with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) as part of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s effort to find a coronavirus vaccine. (RELATED: US Fast Tracks Production Of Two Coronavirus Vaccines)
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of NIAID and the top infectious disease expert on the White House coronavirus task force, applauded the findings of the initial study.
“No matter how you slice this, this is good news,” Fauci told the Associated Press.
The company said that it will begin Phase 3 of its vaccine trial on July 27, with a study of 30,000 participants.
Dr. Tal Zaks, the chief medical officer at Moderna, said that the trial showed that the vaccine elicited “a robust immune response across all dose levels” administered in the study.
Patients were broken up into three groups and administered vaccination doses of 25, 100, and 250 micrograms.
Zaks said that 100 microgram dose proved to be the optimal dose based on the results of the study.
Moderna said that it has already manufactured enough doses of the vaccine for the next phase of the trial and is on track to produce up to 1 billion doses of the vaccine by next year.
Fauci has expressed optimism that scientists will have a safe and effective vaccine for the virus by the end of the year.
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