Early Results from Coronavirus Vaccine Trial Show Promising Immune Response

A biotech company in Massachusetts is sharing some positive news about a promising coronavirus vaccine.

Releasing preliminary data from its Stage 1 trials, Moderna, Inc. announced on Monday that 8 participants who had received two doses of the vaccine had developed “neutralizing antibodies” that were at the same, or higher, level than in people who had previously recovered from COVID-19. The subjects in the trial are healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55.

Although at this time data is only available for 8 participants — 4 received the lowest dose of the vaccine and 4 received the middle dose — a total of 45 volunteers were enrolled in the initial study, which is primarily focused on determining whether the vaccine is safe and capable of producing an effective immune response.

Trials for the vaccine — the first to be tested in humans — began in March.

Throughout the course of the study, which has been led by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, there have been no reports of “serious adverse” reactions.

Among participants who received the lowest and middle doses of the vaccine, there was one instance of redness around the injection site; at the highest dose, three participants experienced “transient and self-resolving” adverse events after the second dose, which were not serious. The three subjects experienced fever, muscle pain and headaches, all of which went away after a day, Dr. Tal Zaks, Moderna’s chief medical officer, told The New York Times, adding that the highest dose would be eliminated from future trials.

Zaks went on to share that should the studies continue to go well, a vaccine could be made available by the end of this year, or by the start of 2021.

Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration gave the biotech company the go-ahead to move forward with a second phase of trials, which will involve around 600 people. Although a start date has yet to be announced, the Phase 2 trials will begin soon, and a Phase 3 study is expected to begin in July.

The results have not yet been subject to peer review or published in a medical journal, CNN noted.

To date, there are 8 coronavirus vaccines that are currently in the clinical trial stage and more than 100 that are still in preclinical evaluation.

First results from another promising vaccine, which is being tested at Oxford University, could be out as soon as mid-June.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, has gone on record by saying it’s possible to have a vaccine ready for public use by January 2021. "I think that is doable if things fall in the right place," he said last month.

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