Moderna’s phase one participants developing antibodies with beta coronavirus vaccine

Moderna HQ in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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According to Moderna, their coronavirus vaccine is showing promising results. This means a lot for the future of the world’s battle against the virus.

Yesterday morning, Moderna announced their recent developments on their version of the coronavirus vaccine. After being tested on mice, the vaccine (named mRNA-1273), has helped eight selected, healthy individuals develop anitbodies against the virus. After two doses each, the unconvential mRNA-based vaccine has so far been proven safe and effective. Despite this, three participants developed flu-like symptoms, however they were far from fatal. The dosage in Phase 1 was at 250 micrograms. All following tests will have a dosage between 25 and 100 micrograms.

According to CNN, Moderna’s chief medical officer reports that “We’ve demonstrated that these antibodies, this immune response, can actually block the virus,” Zaks said. “I think this is a very important first step in our journey towards having a vaccine.”

All of the Phase 1 test subjects were volunteers, all healthy young people aged from 18 to 25. The antibodies resulting from the vaccine were equivalent to or greater than the antibodies produced in recovered patients. Volunteers aged 55 and over will be introduced to the vaccine in Phase 2.

As Phase 1 of Moderna’s vaccine testing ends, the company prepares for Phase 2. Their application to the Food and Drug Administration was cleared, allowing the company to proceed their development with about 600 people.

Phase 2 is all about adding variables in the individuals. It’ll test if the results are still positive and safe in a much larger group of people. One Chinese company is in the midst of their Phase 2 testing. Moderna rival Pfizer and their German partner, BioNTech, are combining the two phases in order to catch up. All this competition could be a good thing, though. Experts state that multiple vaccines would be neccesary in order to meet demand. However, a downside to this competition is that these companies are rushing to be first, risking true safety.

If all goes well for Moderna, Phase 3 trials could start in July, allowing for the virus to be ready for mass distrubution by 2021.

Moderna’s breakthroughs have shocked the stock market. It skyrocketed their stock by more than 25% and has given Wall Street its best day in six weeks.

Just like Pfizer’s all-in approach to finding the vaccine, Moderna is giving it their all. They’re selling shares like hot cakes, priced at $76 each. Millions of shares were put on the market and the money will go to resources, labs, and employees. Their website’s home page features a button for job applicants, with over 100 job opportunities available right now.

The biotech industry is running rampant right now, with hundreds of companies racing to find the vaccine, despite the few clear frontrunners. Everyday new and exciting developments are made. Hopefully these companies estiamates of having the vaccine ready by 2021 are true. Otherwise, quarantine will last a while, as U.S health officials estimate the vaccine coming in 12-18 months.

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