Moderna sets July to begin final phase of COVID-19 vaccine trial

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June 11 (UPI) -- U.S. biotech company Moderna announced Thursday it has finalized plans to begin the final stage of its clinical trial for a possible COVID-19 vaccine next month.

Moderna said 30,000 participants in the trial will be enrolled in July for its "mRNA-1273" vaccine candidate.

The Massachusetts-based company said the main goal is inoculating people against symptomatic COVID-19. A secondary goal for the vaccine is keeping patients out of the hospital with severe illness from the coronavirus.

The company said it's finalized protocols with the Food and Drug Administration for the third and final phase of the vaccine candidate. Moderna is presently in the second stage of the trial.

"Moderna is committed to advancing the clinical development ... as safely and quickly as possible to demonstrate our vaccine's ability to significantly reduce the risk of COVID-19 disease," Moderna Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tal Zaks said in a statement.

The company's first clinical study determined that 100 milligrams is the optimal dose level for the potential vaccine. Moderna said it plans to deliver between 500 million and 1 billion doses per year, starting in 2021, in a collaboration with Swiss drugmaker Lonza.

The second stage, which began last month, involves 600 participants and is assessing the safety and efficacy of the vaccine candidate.

There are a number of potential coronavirus vaccines presently in development.

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An anti-government protester rallies in front of French security forces as they arrest militants attempting to gather at Republic Square in Paris on May 11. Photo by Eco Clement/UPI | License Photo

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