Covid-19 vaccine study in US shows 'optimistic' results, set to begin key final testing in late July

Some hopeful news.

Fasiha Nazren | July 15, 2020, 04:12 PM

A Covid-19 vaccine tested in the U.S. is set to begin its key final testing.

The vaccine is developed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and biotech company Moderna Inc.

The test first began in March 2020 with 45 volunteers. The vaccine requires two doses, a month apart.

Optimistic results

Following the vaccine test, the volunteers developed neutralising antibodies in the bloodstream at levels comparable to those found in people who survived the virus, the team reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

These antibodies are molecules key to blocking the Covid-19 infection.

William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, a vaccine expert who wasn't involved in the study, shared that he was optimistic that the final testing could deliver answers whether it's really safe and effective by the beginning of next year (2021).

No serious side-effects, but reported flu-like reactions

According to Associated Press News, no serious side effects were observed as a result of the vaccine.

More than half of the study participants had flu-like side effects including fatigue, headache, fever and pain at the injection site.

These side effects are common among other vaccines, though.

Some of the volunteers also had reactions similar to Covid-19 symptoms, however, these reactions would occur right after vaccination, and lasts for just about a day.

Largest Covid-19 study

Around July 27, researchers will begin a study involving 30,000 people to prove if the shots are strong enough to protect against Covid-19.

This is said to be the world's largest study for a Covid-19 vaccine so far.

It's worth noting that these early results only included younger adults.

Another first-step test, involving older adults who are most at risk of Covid-19, has also been done. However, these results are not yet public, but regulators are evaluating them.

The final testing of the vaccine will also include older adults and people with chronic health conditions.

U.S. aims to produce 300 million vaccines by 2021, but patience needed

The Trump Administration aims to produce 300 million vaccine doses by the end of 2021 through its Operation Warp Speed Programme.

However, in a report by Reuters, chief of pharmaceutical company Merck & Co Inc Kenneth Frazier said that expecting a vaccine before year-end is a "grave disservice to the public".

He said that potential vaccines may not have the qualities needed to be rapidly deployed in large numbers of people.

Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government's top infectious disease expert, said that multiple vaccines were needed, and he was "cheering on" development of vaccines in other countries.

Testing for vaccines in China and Oxford University in the UK has also entered its final stages. Within America, Pfizer Inc and Johnson and Johnson are conducting other studies.

Top image by National Cancer Institute via Unsplash.