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Moderna Phase 1 results show coronavirus vaccine safe, induces immune response

Moderna Inc’s experimental vaccine for COVID-19 showed that it was safe and induced immune responses in all 45 healthy volunteers in an ongoing early-stage trial.

Volunteers who received two doses of the vaccine had elevated levels of virus-killing antibodies that surpassed the normal levels seen in people who had recovered from COVID-19.

No research participants encountered severe side effects, but more than half reported mild to moderate reactions such as fatigue, headache, chills, muscle aches to pain at the injection site. This was more likely to occur after the second dose and in people who received the maximum dose.

Moderna was the first to launch human testing of a novel coronavirus vaccine on March 16, 66 days after the release of the genetic sequence of the virus.

Moderna shares jumped more than 15% in after-hours trading on Tuesday.

The US government is supporting Moderna’s vaccine with nearly half a billion dollars and has selected it as one of the first to launch large-scale clinical trials. An effective vaccine may be a turning point for Moderna, headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which has never had a licensed product.

The world is in desperate need of a vaccine to combat the coronavirus pandemic that has sickened millions and caused nearly 575,000 deaths worldwide.