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First COVID-19 Vaccine Tested In U.S. Ready For Final Testing

Susie Steck

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  • The laboratory testing of a potential COVID-19 vaccine is now on its final leg of trial in the United States.
  • During the clinical testing with 45 individuals, scientists reported that the vaccine did boost people’s immune system.
  • The final and most important step will be taken on July 27 when 30,000 volunteers will be injected with the potential cure.

The National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc. announced this week that the first potential COVID-19 vaccine is currently on its road to final testing. In an Associated Press report, U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said that his team will be starting its most crucial and important clinical testing on July 27.

The testing, Fauci said, will involve 30,000 volunteers, from young ones and adults, including individuals with underlying diseases. The scientists will inject the experimental COVID-19 vaccine to see if they will be protected from the deadly disease.

The 30,000 participants are marked as the world’s largest study of potential coronavirus cure, so far.

First 45 volunteers findings

Prior to the final testing, Fauci and other scientists at the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., has conducted the first batch of clinical trial in March involving 45 volunteers.

During the first clinical trial of the experimental coronavirus vaccine, the team discovered that it did boost the volunteers’ immune systems.

“No matter how you slice this, this is good news,” Fauci said.

Moderna also added that the first volunteers have developed “neutralizing antibodies” in their bloodstreams. These antibodies, the report pointed out, are key to blocking such infection.

The antibodies were likened to those found in patients who survived COVID-19.

“This is an essential building block that is needed to move forward with the trials that could actually determine whether the vaccine does protect against infection,” said Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle Dr. Lisa Jackson.

First COVID-19 volunteer in March

In March, Moderna Therapeutics injected the potential cure for SARs-CoV-2 Coronavirus to its first brave volunteer, Jennifer Haller, 43 years old.

The phase 1 clinical trial was conducted by Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. Researchers tested three different doses of the mRNA-1273 vaccine.

The vaccine required two doses, with one month apart.

So far, Moderna said that there were no “serious” side effects during the clinical trials. However, more than half of the volunteers who participated said that they experienced flu-like effects right after the shots.

According to the scientists, the flu-like symptom is uncommon reaction in many vaccines. Participants have developed fatigue, headache, chills, fever, and pain at the injection site.

They also administered highest doses to three participants, which experienced more severe reactions to the experimental vaccine. Due to that, scientists decided not to pursue the dosage.

In addition, they said that some reactions are similar to COVID-19 symptoms. However, the symptoms were temporary and only occurred right after the vaccination and lasted a day.

“Small price to pay for protection against COVID,” Vanderbilt University Medical Center vaccine expert Dr. William Schaffner said.

Schaffner described the initial results as a “good first step”. He also expressed optimism that the final leg of clinical trial will also deliver a positive outcome on the experimental vaccine’s safety and efficacy.

Aside from Moderna, Oxford candidate, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer are also planning their own wide studies on the potential COVID-19 cure.

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