Moderna announces July clinical trials after experimental coronavirus vaccine shows promising early results

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Moderna, the Massachusetts biotechnology company behind a leading effort to create a coronavirus vaccine, announced promising early results from its first human safety tests Monday [May 18]. The company plans to launch a large clinical trial in July aimed at showing whether the vaccine works.

The company reported that in eight patients who had been followed for a month and a half, the vaccine at low and medium doses triggered blood levels of virus-fighting antibodies that were similar or greater than those found in patients who recovered. That would suggest, but doesn’t prove, that it triggers some level of immunity. The antibody-rich blood plasma donated by patients who have recovered is separately being tested to determine whether it is an effective therapy or preventive measure for covid-19.

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The data released [May 18] by Moderna is encouraging, but represents only a first step in a long process to bring a vaccine to market. It comes from an interim report on dozens of patients followed over weeks, whereas vaccine studies require broad testing in thousands of patients followed over many months or years.

The company has not … announced the size or length of the large trial that it will start in July.

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