U.S. company ModernaTX, Inc., in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, has developed a COVID-19 vaccine candidate that is entering Phase 3 efficacy testing today.
This U.S. vaccine candidate joins 4 other candidates in Phase 3 testing; three coming from China and one developed by the University of Oxford with AstraZeneca. The World Health Organization maintains this list of vaccine candidates.
The vaccine developed by Moderna injects RNA into a person’s arm. The RNA directs the creation of proteins found in Coronavirus. The creation of the protein will stimulate the immune system to make antibodies that fight the virus. This new type of vaccine would give the vaccinated person the ability to fight off the virus once exposed to it, preventing the individual from ever contracting COVID-19. The vaccine has been developed to last for 2 years.
Conducting Phase 3
The Phase 3 trial will take place at 89 centers across the U.S. and could require as many as 30,000 volunteers. Half of the volunteers will receive 2 shots of the mRNA-1273 vaccine, given 28 days apart. The other half of the volunteers will receive shots of salt water. The only people that will know which group receives which injection, are the people running the study, to prevent bias of outcome.
Researchers then monitor the participants who get sick with COVID-19. To say with confidence that the vaccine is preventing disease, there will have to be fewer than 150 cases of COVID-19 contracted during the trial.
Researchers expect the trial to take months, and the number of volunteers needed remains undisclosed.
Volunteers can join the trial if they meet the requirements set forth by ModernaTX, Inc.