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American biotech coronavirus vaccine shows positive results in early human trials

18 May 2020
Matt Hochberg

An American biotech company announced its coronavirus vaccine resulted in positive interim clinical data in its first human safety tests.

Moderna published the results of its vaccine candidate against novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), from the Phase 1 study led by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

These results have not been published in a scientific journal and are only a first step toward showing the experimental vaccine is safe and effective.

The results show an increased level of antibodies in the 8 patients given various dose levels that matched the levels of antibodies blood samples from people who have recovered from COVID-19.

The vaccine, known as mRNA-1273, was generally safe and well tolerated. The only side effect was in one patient where there was redness around the injection site.   

"With today’s positive interim Phase 1 data and the positive data in the mouse challenge model, the Moderna team continues to focus on moving as fast as safely possible to start our pivotal Phase 3 study in July and, if successful, file a BLA," said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer at Moderna. "We are investing to scale up manufacturing so we can maximize the number of doses we can produce to help protect as many people as we can from SARS-CoV-2."

Countries and private companies around the world are in a race to create a working vaccine, and the U.S. is aiming to have hundreds of millions of doses of a vaccine broadly available by the end of the year.

The cruise industry has been especially hard hit by COVID-19, and the result has been ships not sailing since March and tremendous financial losses.

A vaccine is widely seen as a key step to restoring consumer confidence that going on a cruise, as well as various other aspects of daily life, is safe. Meanwhile, over 75% of cruise fans are willing to return to a cruise even without a vaccine.

Royal Caribbean currently has cancelled all sailings until at least June 12.