What happens if the COVID-19 vaccines fail their trials?

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Initial tests have been promising, but what happens if none of the trials pans out? The race for a COVID-19 vaccine is unprecedented: 198 potential vaccines are now in development, and that development is happening faster than it ever has in history. Moderna, for example, finalized its vaccine just days after Chinese researchers released the genetic sequence of the new coronavirus in January. Two months later, the first volunteer was dosed with the vaccine. Last week, the company published positive Phase I trial results showing that the vaccine seems safe and generates an immune response; days later, Oxford University researchers published similarly promising results. Read Full Story

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AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine has 79% efficacy in new U.S.-based trial

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The latest Phase III trial encompassed 32,000 participants, 21,583 of those receiving at least one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The beleaguered AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine got a big shot in the arm, so to speak, today with results of the latest clinical trial which showed the vaccine is 79% effective against the virus. Previous studies pegged the AstraZeneca vaccine with an efficacy of 67%. Best of all, the latest trials reconfirmed what earlier ones did: AstraZeneca’s vaccine is 100% effective at preventing severe disease and hospitalization from COVID-19. Read Full Story

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Report: China has approved a COVID-19 vaccine for military use

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The military research unit has eschewed phase 3 clinical trials and is going straight into use. The Chinese military has approved a COVID-19 vaccine following studies that show it is safe and has some efficacy, according to Reuters . A research unit of the Chinese military developed the vaccine in collaboration with CanSino Biologics. So far, only the military will have access to the vaccine. Read Full Story

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Moderna’s encouraging vaccine trial: What we know and why the biggest hurdles are still ahead

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The Phase I trail showed encouraging results, but that’s still a long way from a working vaccine that everyone can take. Biotech company Moderna reported positive Phase 1 COVID-19 vaccine trial results this morning, boosting its stock shares by 25% and drumming up a media cyclone of excitement. What does this actually mean, though? Not as much as you hope. Read Full Story

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The surprising reason tobacco plants could solve one of the COVID-19 vaccine’s biggest hurdles

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In the race to manufacture billions of doses of vaccines, could plants be a secret ingredient? For the past 80 years, eggs have been a main ingredient in vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, the flu, and others. Typically, modified genetic material from a virus is inserted into an egg’s proteins, and those proteins are then introduced into the human body to “teach” it an immune response. But since each egg must be modified individually, the lag time for egg-based vaccines can literally be a killer. In the U.S., for example, the CDC must predict in January what strains of the flu will erupt nearly a year later, to give drugmakers time to manufacture enough inoculations. A handful of companies, however, are pioneering vaccines developed in plants, which can be grown and treated in bulk. Using a cousin of the tobacco plant ( nicotiana benthamiana ), biomedical companies Kentucky …

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How Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine works: mRNA

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The vaccine uses a new, innovative form of biotechnology to make the body produce antibodies to protect itself against the virus. In January, as cases of the new, mysterious coronavirus were growing in China—but two months before the World Health Organization declared the disease a pandemic—a handful of small biotech companies began scrambling to develop vaccines using an as-yet-unproven technology platform that relies on something called messenger RNA, usually shortened to mRNA. One was Moderna, which completed its first clinical batch of a vaccine by February and launched human trials in March, faster than any other vaccine in history. Another was BioNTech, a German company that later partnered with Pfizer to make a vaccine that the companies now say has been proven highly successful in trials, reaching 90% effectiveness. Read Full Story

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Moderna is testing a COVID-19 vaccine on humans. This is what they’re not telling you

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Moderna reported positive Phase I testing results for its COVID-19 vaccine and will begin Phase III testing it on 30,000 humans in two weeks. News! Moderna reported positive Phase I testing results for its COVID-19 vaccine and will begin Phase III testing it on 30,000 humans in two weeks. (Separate Phase II trials are underway.) “No matter how you slice this, this is good news,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, our national bearer of bad news, told the Associated Press. Read Full Story

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