American biotechnology firm, Moderna Inc. on Tuesday announced that its COVID-19 vaccine trial recorded a positive outcome. The company said its experimental vaccine induced a robust response and protected against infection in a study on monkeys.
More details: Results of the study which was carried out on rhesus macaque monkeys and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that when given to non-human primates, the vaccine (mRNA-1273) protected against infection in the lungs and nose. It also prevented pulmonary disease in all animals. Scientists have, therefore, certified this an improvement over similar results that were gotten from AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine study.
Meanwhile, as a follow up to the positive results of the animal study recorded by Moderna, the firm has already begun experimental testing on humans.
Nairametrics also understands that the firm commenced another study to test its RNA vaccine against a placebo in 30,000 healthy volunteers, according to a report by Reuters. It is expected that a positive outcome from the new trial would expedite the regulatory approval process for mass usage of the vaccine.
Important things to note about the study
- The study involves 24 monkeys
- Moderna tested doses of 10 micrograms or 100 micrograms of the vaccine against no treatment
- Both doses were certified effective at protecting against viral replication in the lungs and lung inflammation
- Larger doses also protect against viral replication in the nose of the animals.
It should be noted that a more advanced viral vaccine that is being developed by the collaboration of Oxford University and AstraZeneca had, in a similar animal study, demonstrated that it can prevent damage to the lungs and keep the virus from making copies of itself there. However, during the study, the virus still actively replicated in the nose.
Quick Facts: At the moment, there are more than 100 COVID-19 vaccines under different levels of development by pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, government agencies, and others. The World Health Organization (WHO) is tracking most of these. Tens of such vaccine candidates are already undergoing clinical trials across more than a dozen countries.
The backstory: Following a promising result in an early human trial, Moderna launched large scale testing, involving 30,000 participants. The Chinese biotech firm CanSino Biologics and the medical research arm of the People’s Liberation Army also started COVID-19 vaccine trials in March which were later approved for use by military personnel in June.
The WHO Chief Scientist has said that the vaccine, which is manufactured by AstraZeneca in collaboration with the University of Oxford, is likely the world’s leading candidate. Initial human trials are set to begin in the US in August.
America’s pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Germany’s firm BioNTech, and Chinese firm Fosun Pharma are all working on a vaccine that started human trials in April in Germany and later in the United States.