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Trialing It Out

Pfizer and the German pharmaceutical firm BioNTech have started human trials of their mRNA-based vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 in the US, the New York Times reports. It adds that a dozen volunteers in Germany have already been given the candidate vaccine.

According to Pfizer and BioNTech, this Phase 1/2 study aims to examine the safety, immunogenicity, and best dosage of four mRNA vaccine candidates. The candidates include different combinations of mRNA formats — such as uridine-containing mRNA or nucleoside modified mRNA — and target antigens. They plan to test the vaccine candidates on 360 people in the US during the first stage. The Times notes that by testing multiple vaccine candidates in parallel, the firms hope to more quickly amass the data they need to apply for Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.

As the Times adds, other firms like Moderna, Inovio, and CanSino are taking similar approaches to developing SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, but it adds that "no vaccine made with this technology for other viruses has ever reached the global market."