Washington | A new Phase 1 clinical trial has started in the US to evaluate Moderna’s investigational vaccine which is designed to protect against the B.1.351 coronavirus variant, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced.
The trial, led and funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the NIH, will evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine, known as mRNA-1273.351, in adult volunteers, Xinhua news agency quoted the announcement as saying on Wednesday.
The trial will enrol approximately 210 healthy adult volunteers at four clinical research sites in the US, according to the NIH.
“The B.1.351 SARS-CoV-2 variant, first identified in South Africa, has been detected in at least nine states in the US,” NIAID Director Anthony Fauci was quoted as saying.
“Preliminary data show that the Covid-19 vaccines currently available in the US should provide an adequate degree of protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants.
“However, out of an abundance of caution, NIAID has continued its partnership with Moderna to evaluate this variant vaccine candidate should there be a need for an updated vaccine,” the top infectious diseases expert added.
The variant vaccine candidate differs from the currently-authorised Moderna jab in that it delivers instructions for making the SARS-CoV-2 spike that incorporates key mutations in the B.1.351 virus variant, according to the NIH.
In addition to the Phase 1 clinical trial, investigators at NIAID’s Vaccine Research Center are collaborating with Moderna to evaluate mRNA-1273.351 in animal models.
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