• Thomas Parker

Moderna virus vaccine research yields positive "phase 1" results

A new experimental vaccine in development by Moderna to prevent COVID-19 produced a "robust" immune response in 45 of 45 patients during "phase 1" trials, according to data published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“This is very exciting," said Dr. John Dunn with Kaiser Permanente. "Everyone should feel encouraged. There are no serious safety concerns. And individuals do produce antibodies that are capable of neutralizing the virus."

The clinical trial was launched in Seattle back in March with help from Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute.

Researchers believe that's important for building immunity and it’s a sign that the vaccine may give some protection against the coronavirus.

During Phase 1 of the world's first COVID-19 vaccine trial launched at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research, young, healthy volunteers were injected with two doses of the experimental vaccine—a month apart.

Ian Haydon, who works at University of Washington, is a Phase 1 vaccine volunteer who received a high dose injection of Moderna’s vaccine.

In the trial, each participant received a 25, 100 or 250 microgram dose.

“After the first dose, I had no side effects," Haydon said. "After the second injection, for 24 hours, I had flu-like symptoms. It lasted for about a day."

Moderna said the levels of neutralizing antibodies in patients in the high dose group like Haydon's were four times higher than in COVID-19 patients who have recovered.

Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research is looking for more volunteers. 30,000 volunteers nationwide are needed for Phase 3. That’s scheduled to begin July 27.

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