[Newsphopick=Gyubin Lee] A Covid-19 vaccine developed by the biotechnology company Moderna in partnership with the National Institutes of Health has been found to induce immune responses in all of the volunteers who received it in a Phase 1 study.
These early results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Tuesday, showed that the vaccine worked to trigger an immune response with mild side effects -- fatigue, chills, headache, muscle pain, pain at the injection site -- becoming the first US vaccine candidate to publish results in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
The vaccine is expected to begin later this month a large Phase 3 trial -- the final trial stage before regulators consider whether to make the vaccine available. Moderna noted in a press release on Tuesday that, if all goes well in future studies, "the Company remains on track to be able to deliver approximately 500 million doses per year, and possibly up to 1 billion doses per year, beginning in 2021."
In the Phase 1 study, "the goal was to look at safety and then to look at immune responses," said Dr. Lisa Jackson, a senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle who was involved in the study. Early data from the study previously was released in May.
"We thought the immune responses look promising, but we don't know whether the levels we're seeing would actually protect against infection. It's really hard to know that until you do the actual efficacy trial," she said. "So we're laying the groundwork for the trial that will provide those answers.