Humanity might just be getting around to getting about, as Moderna has stated that it has started Phase 3 of human trials for its COVID 19 vaccine, cultivating hope for the end of the lockdown and the virus very soon. Moderna’s vaccine has so far shown the most promise among 100s of other similar vaccine development initiatives globally.
In March, Moderna had started the first phase of clinical human trials for its COVID-19 vaccine. Over the last 3 months, the company has managed to complete two phases of its human trials, with some minor side effects. After those successful two phases, they have now kicked off the third and final round of the trials, which will be the world’s largest till date.
This study involves 30,000 participants from various geographies within the United States. However, not all of them are getting the potential vaccine shot. Some of them will be injected with placebos, that is, something that is not a vaccine. This is done to ensure that preconceived notions don’t affect the virus. During these trials, each participant gets two shots. This enables researchers to observe which group suffers more infections with all the participants following their daily routines.
Moderna and National Institutes of Health (NIH) are working together on these trials. Their vaccine is a synthetics messenger RNA (mRNA) one, where neutralizing antibodies are produced once injected into humans. These vaccines, though relatively new, immunize against viruses and can be manufactured quicker than traditional vaccines that trigger immune response by generally through dead viruses of the disease.
Moderna is among the only five organizations that were selected by the American government as a part of Operation Warp Speed – that looks to accelerate the mass production and distribution of a fully developed COVID-19 vaccine. Several other organisations conducting trials for the vaccine include Oxford’s AstraZeneca University, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer Inc. and Novavax. Operation Warp Speed funds Pfizer-BioNTech, Merck, Vaxart.
The company had previously received a fund of $483Mn from the government in April. However, today’s announcement earned it a lot more recognition, as it got another $472Mn in addition to the previously received money. Of course markets met the announcement with joy, sending Moderna’s shares up 11% in regular trade. They stood their highest in terms of stock price at $94.85 on 17th July this year.
Currently, the world faces 16 million total coronavirus cases with above 6,50,000 deaths. The US accounts for about 26% of the cases where every 3 out of 100 affected patients died due to COVID-19. US President Trump has a positive outlook on the arrival of a legitimate vaccine for the virus by the end of this year or the beginning of 2021.