The first novel coronavirus vaccine to be tested on humans has shown success in stimulating antibodies for the disease. The drugmaker behind the vaccine, Moderna, made the auspicious announcement on Monday. Though further trials will be needed before the vaccine can be offered to the public, the success of the first trial has sparked the hope society can achieve mass immunization by late 2020 or early 2021.
According to The New York Times, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based drug maker came to the results after testing all 45 healthy volunteers who received two doses of the medication in March.
The participants were found to have created COVID-19 antibodies after receiving the shots. The antibodies were then tested in human cells in the lab and managed to stop COVID-19 from replicating. In addition, the levels of the antibodies in the 45 individuals were the same as those in people who had contracted and recovered from the disease.
The encouraging results were compounded by Moderna's concurrent experiment in mice. The mice that were vaccinated with the new drug were able to stop the virus from replicating in their lungs.
Though most drug trials usually have to go through a lengthy process of experimentation before testing on humans, Moderna is operating on an accelerated timetable due to the seriousness of the COIVD-19 pandemic.
In fact, the Food and Drug Administration has already given approval for the company to begin its phase two testing, which will expand the trial to 600 people. A third phase will then commence in July if the results continue to be promising.
Dr. Tal Zaks, Moderna's chief medical officer, said that it was his hope a vaccine could be available to the public by late 2020 or early 2021.
Interestingly, Moderna claimed the dosage level of the drug appeared to have little effect on its viability. As a result, higher dosages will be excluded in the next round. This is good news, as lower dosages means the vaccine can be dispersed more quickly.
"The lower the dose, the more vaccine we'll be able to make," Dr. Zaks explained.
Moderna's potential vaccine is not the only one currently being tested. As many as seven other companies are also working on developing a vaccine and there are some serious contenders on the horizon.
As the death toll rises and the economic fallout from the pandemic continues, the race for a vaccine has become more important than ever. Already, 315,000 people worldwide have died from the disease. In addition, the chairman of the Federal Reserve has warned that the United States economy will not recover by the end of 2020, as was previously covered by The Inquisitr.