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Boston, Jul 14 (Canadian-Media): The first experimental COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Fauci’s colleagues at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Cambridge-based Moderna Inc are scheduled to begin key final testing to see its results, media reports said.
Moderna. Image credit: Twitter handle
When this vaccine was tested in the United States (US), 45 people’s immune systems were triggered just the way scientists had hoped, researchers reported Tuesday, as the shots are scheduled to begin key final testing.
“No matter how you slice this, this is good news,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top infectious disease expert.
The experimental vaccine will start its most important step around July 27: A 30,000-person study, will mark the world's largest study of a potential COVID-19 vaccine so far, to prove if the shots really are strong enough to protect against the coronavirus.
Neutralizing antibodies, developed in the blood streams of early volunteers, block infection at levels comparable to those found in people who survived COVID-19, the research team reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.
"This is an essential building block that is needed to move forward with the trials that could actually determine whether the vaccine does protect against infection," said Dr. Lisa Jackson of the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle, who led the study.
The government hopes to have results around the end of the year.
Although there were no serious side effects, more than half the study participants reported flu-like reactions to the shots including fatigue, headache, chills, fever and pain at the injection site.
Some of those reactions occurred right after vaccination and resembled the symptoms of coronavirus but they were temporary and lasted about a day, researchers noted.
And Tuesday's results only included younger adults. The testing later was expanded to include dozens of older adults, the age group most at risk from COVID-19. The results are being evaluated.
Fauci said final testing will include older adults, as well as people with chronic health conditions that make them more vulnerable to the virus, including Black and Latino populations.
"We need multiple vaccines. We need vaccines for the world, not only for our own country," said Fauci, who directs NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.