The first COVID- 19 vaccine trial has shown positive results after Moderna reported its potential vaccine and boosted the immune system of patients to the same or higher level of protection as patients, who had recovered from the diseases.
The Boston- based biotech company announced the interim results from the early-stage trial done on Monday (May 18, 2020) morning, showing the vaccine candidate known as mRNA-1273 was safe, able to stimulate an immune response against the virus and well-tolerated by participants, with some minor side-effects, offering a gleam of hope to a world, who is desperate to find ways to stop the pandemic.
Researchers looked at the blood samples from the test and observed whether the vaccine helped them to generate antibodies that could fight off the infection. Among 25 people who got either of the two lower dose levels used in the study, researchers reported that the levels of antibodies found in patients who had recovered from the virus after getting a second booster shot of the vaccine either equaled or exceeded.
The second test evaluating the quality of those antibodies was only available for eight of the people because it takes a longer time to perform. But in all 8 people, the vaccine successfully stimulated the body to produce antibodies capable of neutralising the virus in the test tube, so that it can no longer infect cells.
They looked at both the number of coronavirus antibodies produced and in a smaller subset of people, whether those antibodies were sufficient to prevent the virus from infecting cells in test-tube experiments. Stephane Bancel, Moderna’s chief executive said: “This is a very good sign that we can make an antibody that can stop the virus from replicating”. He also said, “He could not have expected better data”.
Most vaccines consist of inactive pieces of a virus or proteins from a virus made through genetic engineering. When it is injected into the body, they trigger a lasting immune response similar to that of a person who has been infected and recovered. By contrast, the messenger RNA (mRNA) technology being used by Moderna and several others relies on the body’s own cells to produce viral proteins. Once injected into the body, the RNA slips into human slips and tells them to make viruses like proteins, in this case, the “Spike” protein on the surface of the coronavirus. If the vaccine works, those proteins then trigger the body to generate protective antibodies.
Mr. Bancel said that Moderna could start a large phase three trial in July, as the phase two trial was starting shortly. He also said that “Even if the vaccine showed an efficacy rate as low as 60 to 70 percent, it could be useful in stopping the replication rate of the virus.” The third trial would probably be conducted at sites around the world.
Some side-effects are being seen in the early phase of the trial, that is common for many other vaccines, some people have experienced redness at the site of injection and chills. Mr. Bancel lastly added that “These data substantiate our belief that mRNA-1273 has the potential to prevent the Covid-19 disease.”