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Clinical Trial Of Coronavirus Vaccine By Moderna Could Be In April

Just six weeks after it started working on the immunization, an experimental coronavirus vaccine has been shipped by US biotech firm Moderna to the US government researchers.

The initial trial of the vaccine is expected to begin by April, but the trials and approvals could take at least one year to complete.

The first batch of the coronavirus vaccine named mRNA-1273 has been sent to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said Moderna on Monday.

On Tuesday, shares in the Boston based company were trading 15% higher in New York.
The planned Phase 1 study of the vaccine during its first trial would be performed on a small number of healthy individuals in the US.

The first step in the process of making a potential vaccine available for use could start by the end od April, said Anthony Fauci, the Director of NIAID.

Two doses of the vaccine would be tested on 25 volunteers to see if it produces an immune response that would protect them against the coronavirus, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Further testing and regulatory approvals would be needed even if the clinical trial is successful before the coronavirus vaccine can be distributed widely.

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The coronavirus has infected more than 80,000 people around the world by now and has killed 2,700. Pharmaceutical companies and health officials around the globe are working hard to develop vaccines or treatments to fight the highly infectious Covid-19.

If the vaccine turns out to be successful in the Phase 1 trial, researchers could expedite the further approval process in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus, Fauci told CNN. But even when the approval processes are carried out in an “emergency speed”, the vaccine would not be available to use for at least a year.

Other pharma companies like GlaxoSmithKline (GLAXF) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and NIAID scientists are also working on developing coronavirus vaccine hoping to find a treatment for the virus.

On Monday, after the World Health Organization announced that a drug remdesivir is showing signs of helping the treatment for coronavirus, the shares of its manufacturer Gilead (GILD) gained 5%.

The speed at which the new vaccine is developed by Moderna is a breakthrough even though the vaccine remains unproven. Moderna developed the vaccine within 42 days of getting coronavirus’s genetic information. According to Fauci, it took 20 months to start the trials of SARS vaccine

mRNA vaccines

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Moderna’s mRNA technology platform aims to develop drugs that guide the cells in the body to make proteins to fight or prevent the disease. The technology makes use of messenger RNA essential for the proper functioning of cells. But Moderna has yet to produce a proven vaccine with its new technology.

They have developed six different vaccines using this technology, which has proven effective in the Phase 1 trial. One of them is currently undergoing the Phase 2 trial. Compared to traditional methods of producing vaccines, the mRNA approach can be faster and economical.

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