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Moderna’s latest vaccine results are promising—but it’s still too early:
Drug maker Moderna has just announced encouraging interim results from the ongoing phase 1 trial for its experimental coronavirus vaccine. The early results suggest the vaccine has the potential to confer immunity against covid-19 in people.

What is the vaccine and how does it work? Moderna specializes in vaccines designed to elicit an immune response against the coronavirus through the virus’s mRNA—genetic instructions for the virus to replicate inside the host. 

The new results: Moderna just released antibody data for eight participants. Four received two shots of 25 micrograms of the drug and four received two shots of 100 micrograms. The 25-microgram participants developed neutralizing antibodies to the coronavirus at levels comparable to recovered covid-19 patients; those in the 100-microgram arm had antibody levels that “significantly exceeded” the level in recovered patients. 

Next steps: The results are encouraging, but we can’t draw conclusions yet. Way more data is needed. The FDA has already given Moderna approval for a phase 2 trial (testing the drug’s biological effect on patients, as opposed to just its safety) and a phase 3 trial is expected to start in July. According to the Wall Street Journal, if all Moderna’s trials go well—and that’s a big if—the FDA could grant emergency-use authorization for the vaccine by the fall.

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