NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The race to develop and test a coronavirus vaccine is proceeding at warp speed, with several companies reporting promising results.

Of the more than 100 in development, the World Health Organization has identified seven or eight top candidates. Several are now moving through Phase 1 safety trials with some evidence of effectiveness, CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez reported.

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Boston-based Moderna on Monday reported the first eight healthy volunteers not only tolerated the two doses of vaccine, they also made antibodies that prevented the virus from replicating in mice. The volunteers’ antibody levels were at or above those seen in so-called convalescent plasma found in recovered COVID-19 patients. Moderna said it will start much larger Phase 2 effectiveness trials by July.


Another vaccine candidate well along is being jointly developed by Oxford University in England. That vaccine, originally developed for another coronavirus, completely protected six monkeys from COVID-19 when challenged with the virus. Oxford said the single-dose vaccine will not be expensive, 1 million are already in production, and it has already been tested in 500 humans.

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Other companies also have vaccines, including one made from tobacco.

The hard part will be Phase 3 testing to prove effectiveness, which normally requires tens of thousands of volunteers and years of follow up. Some public health experts propose shortening that by deliberately trying to infect vaccinated volunteers with coronavirus.

It is possible that more than one vaccine will succeed and will be needed for the vast number of doses needed to protect the entire world.


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