Phase III testing of Moderna's candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccine has started today, NPR reports.
The trial will involve some 30,000 people, half of whom will receive two injections of the candidate vaccine, dubbed mRNA-1273, and half of whom will receive a saline placebo. Researchers will then monitor whether the vaccine can prevent those who receive it from becoming ill with COVID-19.
"Although face coverings, physical distancing, and proper isolation and quarantine of infected individuals and contacts can help us mitigate SARS-CoV-2 spread, we urgently need a safe and effective preventive vaccine to ultimately control this pandemic," Anthony Fauci, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director, says in a statement.
Moderna developed the mRNA-1273 vaccine in conjunction with NIH researchers, NPR notes. Researchers reported earlier this month in the New England Journal of Medicine that the mRNA vaccine seems to trigger an immune response.
Results from the new study of safety and efficacy may take months, NPR notes.
CNN adds that this vaccine is one of about two dozen in clinical trials around the world. Researchers from Oxford University and AstraZeneca in the UK and CanSino Biologics in China that have also recently published initial results on their candidate vaccines.