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Experimental Covid-19 vaccine shows promise

US firm Moderna said yesterday its experimental Covid-19 vaccine produced antibodies that could "neutralise" the coronavirus in patients in a small early stage clinical trial, sending its shares up 25 per cent.

The levels of the antibodies were similar to those in blood samples of people who have recovered from Covid-19, early results from the study conducted by the National Institutes of Health showed.

Participants were given three different doses of the vaccine and Moderna said it saw dose-dependent increases in immunogenicity, the ability to provoke an immune response in the body.

The vaccine, mRNA-1273, was also found to be generally safe and well tolerated in the early-stage study, the drug developer said.

Moderna leads global efforts in developing a vaccine for Covid-19 and last week, won the US health agency's "fast track" label to speed up the regulatory review. It is looking to begin late-stage trials in July.

In a separate development, China said it would make any coronavirus vaccine it developed a "global public good" once it was put into use.

China has five potential vaccines in clinical trials.

President Xi Jinping told the World Health Assembly in his speech yesterday: "After the research and development of China's coronavirus vaccine is completed and it is put into use, it will be made a global public good."

This move would be China's contribution to achieving accessibility and affordability of a vaccine in developing countries as well, Mr Xi said.

More vaccine candidates are in the pipeline and awaiting approval for human trials, the deputy director of the National Health Commission, Zeng Yixin, said last week.

Experts say it will take 12 to 18 months to develop an effective vaccine, or an even longer period. - REUTERS, AFP

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