Asia Proposed Covid-19 vaccine: US biotech firm starts second phase of tests

Proposed Covid-19 vaccine: US biotech firm starts second phase of tests

Clinical trials will involve about 600 people and they will be monitored for 12 months

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In the international race to develop a Covid-19 vaccine, American biotech company Moderna Inc has now entered Phase II of its clinical trials for its prized candidate.

With the Covid-19 pandemic wreaking havoc, the race to find a vaccine for a virus that has disrupted life as we have known it has never been this fast-paced. With scientists moving at record speed to find a solution for the worldwide dilemma, there are now a handful of candidates showing the most promise so far … and Moderna’s mRNA-1273 is one of them.

According to the Jerusalem Post on Sunday (May 31), Moderna recently announced that it has begun Phase II of its clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate.

Moderna’s chief scientist, Dr Tal Zaks, who was born in Israel, said earlier last month that he was “not surprised that the vaccine works”.

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A total of about 600 individuals will be tested in Phase II — around 300 aged from 18 to 55  and around 300 who are more than 55 years old. Each person will be given a placebo or a dose of 50 or 100 micrograms of the trial vaccine in two vaccinations 28 days apart. The individuals will be monitored for 12 months.

Last month, Moderna disclosed the results of its Phase I trials, which showed that the vaccine was successful in producing protective antibodies in 8 people. The highly encouraging news lead investors to put their money on Moderna, which brought the company’s stocks to an all-time high, according to a report by The Motley Fool. However, the hype toned down due to the data still being too limited. Thus, with the glimmer of hope, the biotech company has now moved into the second phase as the world watches.

In the past, Moderna has successfully developed vaccines for eight viruses.

Meanwhile, the Beijing-based biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech is now also in the second stage of trials for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate. It has more than 1,000 participants, according to Sky News.

Though the data is not perfect — much like that of its Moderna counterpart, the firm’s CoronaVac shows promise. According to the report, one of its researchers, Luo Baishan, said he is “99% sure” it will be successful. Sinovac is already discussing plans for the third stage of trials. /TISG

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