UNITED STATES—A COVID-19 vaccine candidate shows promise from a Massachusetts company which revealed the news on Monday, May 18. 

A COVID-19 vaccine candidate manufactured by Moderna, in Cambridge, MA was said by the company to prompt an immune response in the human body, as well as found to be safe and well-tolerated in a small group of patients. Moderna announced the early results from its phase 1 clinical trial and that the drug will now be tested in larger studies.

The phase 1 trial included 45 people, where 8 of those participants revealed they developed neutralizing antibodies, which can be significant in providing protection from the virus, at levels seen in patients who have recovered from COVID-19. The vaccine can possibly provide protection from the COVID-19 disease in humans.

Each of the 45 participants received two doses of the vaccine, about a month apart. Participants were given one of three dosage levels: 25 micrograms, 100 micrograms and 250 micrograms. Moderna indicated those who received the two lower doses developed COVID-19 antibodies around two weeks after the second dose, while final results on the 250 microgram dosing was not available. According to Moderna, the only side effect was redness around the area where people got the shot.

Moderna, who partnered with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for the trials, will move into phase 2 where they will look at the effectiveness of a 50 microgram dose as well.

The company expects to begin a phase 3 clinical trial as early as July. Phase 3 trials involve a much larger group of participants to confirm results of phases 1 and 2. Other COVID-19 vaccine candidates are being studied at Oxford University in the United Kingdom and at a company called Inovio, headquartered in Pennsylvania. At present, there is no vaccine or remedy for COVID-19.

As of May 18, there have been a total of 323,000 deaths related to COVID-19 on a global scale, with 92,258 of those deaths in the United States and 3,334 in the state of California.