This week, Moderna, the pharmaceutical company based in Cambridge, MA, released their findings from the initial phase of their vaccine trials. Back in March, 45 volunteers were given the vaccine. They all ended up developing neutralizing antibodies, which help block infection. In fact, the subjects developed as many antibodies as those who have recovered from the COVID-19 illness. No major side effects were reported, but some subjects complained of mild flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue or a headache, both of which went away after a day.
Because of the success of the trials, Moderna is moving into the final phase of testing. At the end of July, the company will launch a massive 30,000-person study of the vaccine. If the new phase can yield similar results to the initial trial, then researches are hopeful to have a vaccine by year-end or in early 2021. The vaccine will require two doses, each taken a month apart from each other.
The news is also good for the economy. After word of their success began to spread, the company’s stock rose more than 300 points. It also lifted the rest of the stock market with it, with investors feeling more confident that the economy can soon start to rebuild.
Moderna, however, is going to see some competition. The China National Biotec Group Co., based in Beijing, has also received the O.K. to proceed to the final round of testing for their vaccine, as has Oxford’s vaccine trials, which could be complete in September.