In the study involving 24 monkeys, Moderna tested doses of 10 micrograms or 100 micrograms of the vaccine against no treatment.
Both doses proved effective at protecting against viral replication in the lungs and lung inflammation, with the larger dose also protecting against viral replication in the nose of the animals.
All macaques given the experimental vaccine produced high levels of neutralizing antibodies that target a part of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus used to invade cells. Antibodies are a blood protein produced by the immune system to combat viruses and other foreign material.
The monkeys in the control which did not receive the vaccine were not able to rapidly get rid of the virus.
The findings of the study are significant, Graham explained, because it suggested that the vaccinated monkeys were able to clear much of the virus from their noses, and prevented it from propagating greatly.
“If you get a little infection that is cleared rapidly and doesn’t shed very long, it reduces the likelihood of transmission,” he said.
“I think we have a chance of having some protection from this vaccine, but we have to do the phase 3 trial to find out,” he added.
The testing for phase 3 is going to take place in clinical research sites in the United States.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) the trial volunteers will be separated into two groups, and be issued either the vaccine or the controlled placebo. Two separate shots of either 100 microgram of the vaccine or the placebo solution will be given to the volunteers, but they will be issued 28 days apart from each other. Moreover, this trial will be a blind one, where both the volunteers and researchers will not know which one is given to whom.