Moderna Inc on Tuesday said its experimental COVID-19 vaccine induced a robust immune response and protected against infection in a study on monkeys.
The vaccine, MRNA-1273, given to non-human primates protected against infection in the lungs and nose, and prevented pulmonary disease in all animals, the company said in a news release. Results of the study in rhesus macaque monkeys were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
It appeared to be an improvement over results of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine in a similar study.
While results of the animal study may raise confidence in the vaccine, Moderna has already begun testing it in humans.
On Monday, the company began a late-stage study that intends to test its messenger RNA vaccine against a placebo in 30,000 healthy volunteers. Positive results in that trial could clear the way for regulatory approval and widespread use as early as the end of this year.