Moderna is set to test the coronavirus vaccine. The Pharmaceutical company announced on Thursday that it is on track to begin the final-stage clinical trial of its vaccine for the novel coronavirus by July.
Moderna was the first company to begin human clinical trials of its vaccine candidate in the U.S. The last stage of its study will include 30,000 people and be conducted in partnership with the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
The aim of the study will be to show definitive clinical proof that Moderna vaccine does prevent people from developing Coronavirus. Secondarily, it also aims to show that it prevents at least severe symptoms and cases that require hospitalization from materializing.
The second stage of Moderna’s clinical trial kicked off last month, and the company has previously said that it could potentially begin offering experimental doses. This will be available to healthcare workers in limited capacities as early as this fall.
The pace of development of a few leading vaccine candidates is moving just as quickly, if not more quickly. Johnson & Johnson said earlier this week that it would start trials of its vaccine in July. AstraZeneca have also said they will be entering their own final-stage clinical trials this month.
Moderna use of the mRNA
Moderna’s vaccine candidate is an mRNA vaccine. It is a technology that essentially provides instructions to healthy cells to produce antibodies to the coronavirus. It does this without having to introduce any of the active or inactive virus itself.
mRNA vaccines, while used in veterinary medicines, are relatively new technology and have not been approved for use in human patients. However, they represent a number of the early vaccine attempts. This is due to their advantages in terms of speed of development and the lessened theoretical health risk they pose to people, including early trial participants.