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Moderna begins COVID-19 vaccine trial injections in Houston participants

BELLAIRE, Texas – The first day of a COVID-19 vaccine trial by Moderna began Friday for participants in the Houston area.

This week, President Donald Trump announced a $1 billion deal with Moderna for the company’s vaccine. The vaccine has not yet been proven effective, but if it is, the U.S. government said that money will cover 100 million doses of the vaccine free to the public.

Houston researchers are trying to make it happen

At the Texas Center for Drug Development in Bellaire, the trial participants arrived to receive the first injections.

“I feel comfortable with the degree of safety that was demonstrated in the first phase trial and I’ve also followed the lead of Anthony Fauci who said that it’s reasonably safe for the third phase trial,” said trial participant Patrick Yarbrough. “I feel comfortable with the risk that I’m taking and I am excited to contribute to the effort of an effective vaccine.”

What we know about previous Moderna phases

Early results show the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases gave monkeys the vaccine and it prevented the spread of COVID-19. The argument with animal trials is always that it’s unclear if humans will have the same results.

So far, though, it looks promising.

This trial is the largest study there is and volunteers don’t know if they get a placebo or the real thing. That’s very typical in scientific studies. What’s not typical is how fast they’re speeding through.

Scientists across the globe have stopped what they’re doing to come up with a vaccine. Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson and Oxford University are a few other front runners and they may all cross the finish line at once. Dr. Anthony Fauci said that’s a good thing to have more options and could hopefully result in faster manufacturing.

If all goes well, this could keep us on track for an early 2021 vaccine.