The stock market rallied on Tuesday after a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed one Coronavirus vaccine in development was effectively able to produce antibodies in every person who was administered the new drug.
In the race to develop a viable vaccine against Coronavirus, the U.S. based pharmaceutical company Moderna seems to be pulling ahead. On July 14th the company announced the conclusion of a limited Phase 1 trial where all 45 participants developed antibodies following two rounds of injections. This is the first of soon to be many Coronavirus vaccines tested on humans.
Antibodies are molecules developed within the immune system designed to inhibit foreign bacteria and viruses from spreading within the body. In some cases the immune system can take weeks or even months to naturally produce antibodies after being infected leaving the body at the mercy of the virus. “The Moderna vaccine uses genetic material from the virus, called mRNA, to prompt the immune system to fight the coronavirus,” according to the New York Times.
Vaccines work by introducing weakened portions of the virus into the body so our immune system can develop antibodies long before we ever encounter the full powered virus. Having these antibodies will shorten and lessen the intensity of a Coronavirus infection if the virus is able to take root at all.
The New York Times added, “Moderna’s vaccine, developed with researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was the first coronavirus vaccine to be tested in humans, and the company announced on Tuesday that large Phase 3 tests of it would begin on July 27, involving 30,000 people. Half of the participants will be a control group who will receive placebo.”
In order to speed up what would otherwise be a long and tedious study, Moderna may deploy the testing into newly formed Coronavirus hotspots where the odds of a vaccinated person coming into contact with an infected person in amplified.
Even though Moderna seems to be leading the pack, “experts agree that more than one vaccine will be needed, because no single company could produce the billions of doses needed,” the NY TImes added.
In the study, “all of the participants developed so-called neutralizing antibodies, which can inactivate the virus in lab tests. The levels of those antibodies were similar to those in the upper range in patients who had recovered from coronavirus infections.” People taking the vaccine had the same antibody response and production as those who were already infected and successfully fought off the Coronavirus.
Side effects included, fatigue, chills, headaches, muscle aches and pain at the injection site, and fever, but this list is similar to that of the annual flu vaccine, and all symptoms seem much less severe than actually getting infected.
Though vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing infection, a person who already has antibodies is better prepared to either fight off the infection for the first time or combat reexposure.
Categories: U.S. News