COVID-19 vaccine: Moderna begins world’s biggest Phase III human trials! What’s at stake

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July 28, 2020 12:11 PM

Coronavirus vaccine: Moderna has begun final-stage testing of its potential COVID-19 vaccine on 30,000 volunteers at various sites in the US.

COVID-19 vaccineThe resurgent coronavirus has so far killed more than 650,000 people around the world.

Vaccine for Covid-19: Biotech firm Moderna Inc. on Monday started final-stage testing of its potential COVID-19 vaccine at various US sites, reported AP. In what could be the world’s biggest Phase III human trials for a COVID-19 vaccine, more than 30,000 volunteers are expected to get a jab of either a real shot or a dummy of the potential vaccine, jointly developed by Moderna Inc. and the National Institutes of Health, without being told which, the AP report said.

The results of Phase II human trials would take months to come and there is no guarantee that the vaccine will ultimately work against coronavirus.

The resurgent coronavirus has so far killed more than 650,000 people around the world; the US alone has seen more than 150,000 deaths linked to COVID-19 complications. The virus spares no one. US national security adviser Robert O’Brien has recently tested positive for coronavirus—the highest-ranking US official to test positive so far. The move to resume business and other activities has been facing difficulties as COVID-19 cases continue its spike in the country. Due to coronavirus outbreak, two major league baseball games scheduled on Monday night were cancelled; one, the Marlins’ home opener against the Baltimore Orioles, and two, the New York Yankees’ game in Philadelphia, reported AP.

In order to help people battle COVID-19, the US government has planned a $1-trillion package which could include a new round of $,1200 stimulus checks.

The rising infections in Spain and other European countries raised concern only weeks after reopening borders in hopes of reviving tourism. The UK has imposed a 14-day quarantine on travellers arriving from Spain and Norway; a 10-day quarantine for people returning from the entire Iberian peninsula. France urged its citizens not to visit Spain’s Catalonia region.

In India and Brazil, the number of COVID-19 cases in the past few weeks has been surging very fast, though the recovery rate in India is quite high. India, the third-most affected country in the world, has so far reported nearly 1.5 million coronavirus cases, while Brazil, second among the countries with the highest number of COVID cases, has seen 2.4 million positive cases. Life and business, all most in every country, is severely impacted. Economies of many countries have slipped to the negative territory.

Nurse Melissa Harting received one of the first injections of the Moderna vaccine candidate in Binghamton, New York. She said, as reported by AP, she was volunteering “to do my part to help out and I’m excited.”

Harting said with family members in front-line jobs that could expose them to the coronavirus, “doing our part to eradicate it is very important to me.”

After two doses scientists will closely observe which volunteers—those getting real shots, or a dummy—are showing more infections as they go about their daily routines, especially in areas where the virus still is spreading, the report said, citing officials. Testing is planned at more than 90 sites across the US.

The US is the most affected country in the world in terms of coronavirus infections. The country still has the highest number of active cases. “Unfortunately, we have plenty of infections right now,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert.

A few other potential COVID-19 vaccine candidates have also entered the final stage of human trials. But looking at the sheer number, experts say the US requires its own tests of any vaccine that might be used in the country.

However, Dr. Stephen Hoge, president of Massachusetts-based Moderna, is confident about the vaccine. “We’re optimistic, cautiously optimistic” that the vaccine will work,” he told a House subcommittee last week. “Toward the end of the year” there will be data to prove it, he added.

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