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Pharmaceutical company surges ahead in race toward coronavirus vaccine

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Biotechnology firm, Moderna, leaps ahead in the race toward a COVID-19 vaccine. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company announced results of their latest human clinical trial. 

Forty-five healthy participants, between the ages of 18 and 55 years old, were vaccinated with varying doses on day one of the trial and then again on day 28. Doses were equally divided among volunteers with 15 people in each group receiving 25 micrograms, 100 mcg or 250 mcg, respectively.  

All three groups developed neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 without adverse effects, according to the report published Tuesday in The New England Journal of Medicine. The findings support further development of Moderna’s mRNA vaccine, which is designed to attack the coronavirus “spike” proteins–the part of the virus used to bind and enter human cells. The company is slated to move forward with larger clinical trials.

Moderna, along with Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Emergent BioSolutions, are all part of the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s “Operation Warp Speed.” The goal of the project is to rapidly develop and test various possible COVID-19 treatments and vaccinations. Many potential candidates have received FDA (Food and Drug Administration) emergency use authorization. 

There are currently 17 vaccines in human clinical trials and over 150 vaccines being tested in numerous phases. The administration aims to have a coronavirus vaccine available to the public by the end of this year.