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Moderna vaccine can produce immune response against coronavirus, says study

Published on:15 July 2020, 13:22pm IST
According to this new study, there are no safety concerns with the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine by Moderna.
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Let’s hope we get our first COVID-19 vaccine real soon. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Every country is trying to develop an effective COVID-19 vaccine. Recently, we heard that Russia is leading that race. And now there is positive news from Moderna which claims that the vaccine developed by them has shown good results in neutralizing the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

According to the findings published in The New England Journal of Medicine, an experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by the American biotech company Moderna prompted the neutralisation of antibody activity in healthy adults, though it led to minor side effects in many patients. 

The point to be noted is that this initial finding was observed based on results from the first 45 participants of ages 18 to 55 years enrolled at the study sites in Seattle and at Emory University in the US.

No safety concerns about the vaccine as of now
The study also highlights that the investigational vaccine—mRNA-1273—induced immune responses against the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in all participants, “and no trial-limiting safety concerns were identified.”

The team of researchers, led by Lisa A. Jackson from Washington Health Research Institute in the US, said mRNA-1273 is designed to induce neutralising antibodies directed at a portion of the novel coronavirus ‘spike’ protein which the virus uses to bind to and enter human cells.

Has Russia got a solve for covid-19? Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The vaccine was co-developed by researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and at Moderna, Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts in the US.

Certain side effects were witnessed during the study, but they are “normal”
While conducting the study, the scientists noted that all the participants received one injection, and 42 received both scheduled injections.

They said in April, the trial was expanded to enroll adults older than age 55 years, with 120 individuals participating now.

However, the researchers said the newly published results cover only the age group from 18 to 55.

From the current study, they said no serious adverse events were reported from the use of the experimental vaccine.

But the scientists said more than half of the participants reported fatigue, headache, chills, myalgia, or pain at the injection site.

They also explained that systemic adverse events were more common following the second vaccination, and in those who received the highest vaccine dose.

Commenting on the findings, Andrew Freedman from the University of Cardiff in the UK, who is an infectious disease expert unrelated to the research, said most of the reported side effects are common after vaccination.

“The side effects experienced by more than half the participants are quite common after other vaccinations, although the ‘more severe adverse events’ experienced by three of the subjects given the highest dose may mean that dose is too high to take forward,” Freedman said in a statement to the press.

Human trials for India’s first covid-19 vaccine has started. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

This data will be used for the next phases of this vaccine
According to researchers, using this data on side effects and immune responses at various vaccine doses, the study scientists have formulated doses planned for use in Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials of mRNA-1273.

“Phase 2 studies of this vaccine are already underway. Phase 3 studies will have to be completed to determine whether it is effective in preventing COVID-19,” Freedman noted.

The results of tests measuring levels of vaccine-induced neutralizing activity through day 43 after the second injection will also be analyzed.

Researchers said plans are currently underway to launch a Phase 3 efficacy trial this month. 

So, let’s hope Phase 3 by Moderna brings some positive outcome!

(With inputs from PTI)

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