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COVID-19 vaccine: Moderna to begin final human trial at end of July

Moderna is aiming to begin its final phase of testing for its coronavirus vaccine July 27.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech company is the first to announce an estimated start date for phase 3 trials in the United States.

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Information about the trial, including guidance for vaccine volunteers, was posted on clinicaltrials.gov on Tuesday.

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Moderna spokesperson Ray Jordan confirmed the estimated start date to CNBC. “We can add that we expect participants will be able to register with clinical sites beginning July 21,” he said.

Moderna was the first company in the U.S. to begin testing coronavirus vaccines in humans, giving their first dose March 16.

The company aims to enroll 30,000 adults in the clinical trial, which is designed to test whether the vaccine works to prevent COVID-19. The trial will also look at the vaccine’s safety.

Participants will either receive the vaccine or a placebo. They will be tracked for two years to see whether they get COVID-19 or have any adverse reactions to the vaccine.

The researchers will also periodically measure participants’ antibody levels.

In May, Moderna released preliminary results from its phase 1 clinical trial, which involved 45 participants. Phase 1 trials are meant to test a new drug’s safety, not its effectiveness.

The company said that results from eight of those participants showed they had developed antibodies key to fighting the virus, though it did not publish the full trial results.

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Sara G. Miller

Sara G. Miller is the health editor for NBC News, Health & Medical Unit. 

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