mRNA-1283 will eventually also be tested as a booster dose for people who have already been vaccinated, or are seropositive.
After developing one of three vaccines being widely-used to protect the global population against COVID-19 disease, US company Moderna Therapeutics has now announced a “next-generation” vaccine in its kitty that has begun early-stage trials. The company said it has dosed the first patients with its new candidate, known as mRNA-1283. The mRNA vaccine candidate can potentially be stored in refrigerators, according to statement from Moderna, instead of the ultracold or freezer temperatures required by other widely-available vaccines. This could open up opportunities for developing countries to secure doses of the mRNA vaccine, provided it clears human trials without a hitch.
The mRNA-1283 vaccine is designed to code for part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein – a highly-conserved sequence in all human coronavirus es (HCoVs) that is important for the virus to attach and multiple in cells. Like the bulk of COVID-19 vaccines developed so far, mRNA-1283 is also designed to seek out and neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 virus by targetting the spike protein. However, being an mRNA vaccine, it will do so by passing on instructions to our cells to make a harmless piece of the spike protein.
In the Phase 1 study, Moderna plans to evaluate three different doses in health volunteers to test the safety and immune response from mRNA-1283. The trial will evaluate a higher, single dose of the vaccine as well as a lower, double dose given 28 days apart. The data from the trial will be compared with the dosage for the company’s earlier successful vaccine, mRNA-1273. The phase 1 study of Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine showed that participants had high levels of neutralizing antibodies against COVID-19 119 days after their first dose was administered.
Moderna said in the statement that mRNA-1283 will eventually also be tested as a booster dose for people who have already been vaccinated, or having antibodies from an earlier COVID-19 infection.
The current Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 is a two-dose vaccine, which needs to be stored at minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit (normal freezer temperatures). The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine requires storage at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit (ultra-cold temperatures). Almost 3 billion of the 7.8 billion global population live in regions where temperature-controlled storage is insufficient for an immunization campaign to bring COVID-19 under control, according to a report by the Associated Press.