In US, COVID-19 vaccine enters final phase of human testing

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IN the race to find a vaccine, U.S.-based biotech firm Moderna has begun testing its potential COVID-19 vaccine Widescale.  Testing began Monday on two potential COVID-19 vaccines to determine their safety and effectiveness.  

A volunteer in Savannah, Georgia early Monday morning received the first dose of an experimental vaccine manufactured by U.S.-based biotech firm Moderna and developed by researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.  The volunteer is the first of 30,000 healthy people around the country who will receive two doses of the vaccine over the next several weeks in a late-stage phase of the study to see whether people get infected or sick from COVID-19.  

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An earlier phase of the study discovered that while none of the volunteers experienced a serious side effect from the new vaccine, more than half reported mild or moderate reactions such as fatigue, headaches, chills, muscle aches and pain at the injection site.   

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told reporters Monday that the first results of the late-stage trial of the vaccine may be known by as early as November.  If the trial is successful, Moderna will produce 500 million doses a year, with the hopes of making 1 billion doses annually beginning in 2021.  

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Development of the Moderna/NIAI vaccine is part of President Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed initiative, which is aimed at delivering 300 million doses of an approved vaccine by January.  Moderna has received nearly $1 billion in funding from the program, including $472 million committed just on Sunday to support the late-stage testing phase.

Nurse Kathe Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National.

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