US Firm Moderna’s Covid-19 Vaccine Shows ‘Potential’ In Initial Trials, Doubts Raised Over Oxford Vaccine

In the next phase of the trial in July, the Moderna’s vaccine doses will be between 25 µg and 100 µg, while experts raise concerns over Oxford vaccine as it did not stop the virus in monkeys and may only be partially effective

New Delhi:  At a time when the entire world is looking at vaccination against Covid-19, an mRNA vaccine under human clinical trial by Massachusetts-bases biotechnology giant Moderna has yielded promising results by creating an immune-system response in the body to fight coronavirus.

The 10-year-old company Moderna Inc is reportedly the first company to initiate a human clinical trial for the potential vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 virus in March this year.

The biotech firm works particularly on drugs and vaccine candidates made of ‘messenger RNA (mRNA)’. The current coronavirus vaccine candidate developed by the company has shown promising results in phase one of the clinical trials.

mRNA-1273 is an mRNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 which was opted by Moderna in synergy with investigators from the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The trials on the vaccination has taken into consideration 45 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 55 years over approximately six weeks.

According to the company, participants were divided into three groups of 15 people each. All of them were found to have developed antibodies on day 15 after a single dose of mRNA-1273, the vaccine candidate.

While a pre-clinical study of the vaccine in mice have demonstrated that mRNA-1273 have stopped viral replication in the lungs of the animals infected with the virus.

Now, the researchers based on their findings will change the study to include a 50-µg dose-level cohort across each of the three groups.

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In the next phase of the trial in July, the vaccine doses will be between 25 µg and 100 µg. “At this time, neutralising antibody data are available only for the first four participants in each of the 25 µg and 100 µg dose level cohorts,” Moderna said.

Consistent with the binding antibody data, mRNA vaccination elicited neutralising antibodies in all the eight participants.

“The levels of neutralising antibodies on day 43 were at or above levels generally seen in convalescent sera,” mentioned the drugmaker.

The company has noted that mRNA-1273 was generally safe and well tolerated, with a safety profile consistent as seen in prior Moderna infectious disease vaccine clinical studies.

After the interim Phase 1 data, the Moderna-led Phase 2 study will soon start, with the aim of selecting a dose for pivotal studies

Meanwhile, a vaccine from Oxford University which in the race to develop a coronavirus jab does not stop the virus in monkeys and may only be partially effective, experts have raised concerns.

According to reports in Telegraph, a trial of the vaccine in rhesus macaque monkeys did not prevent the animals from getting infected raising questions over the vaccine’s potential in treating humans and the ongoing development.

The vaccine from the coveted University, known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, is  undergoing human trials in Britain. The government has already reached a deal between Oxford University and the drug company AstraZeneca to produce the drug if it proves successful.

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