PHOENIX — Many health experts have warned we may not be able to fully stop the spread, or effects of COVID-19, until a vaccine is developed.
That day could come sooner than first anticipated. The Hope Research Center is now one of only 80 companies across the US trusted to conduct Phase 3 of trials on a potential vaccine to fight against COVID-19.
A Massachusetts base bio-technology company, Moderna, started working on mRNA-1273, a vaccine candidate against the novel coronavirus, in January.
So far, the company has successfully completed two trials, Phase one and two, showing promising results. Results from the first two phases of the story were published in the New England Journal of Medicine last week.
The company announced the results on their website saying in part: "These positive Phase 1 data are encouraging and represent an important step forward in the clinical development of mRNA-1273," said Stephanie Bancel, Chief Executive Officer for Moderna. "We are committed to advancing the clinical development of mRNA-1273 as quickly and safely as possible while investing to scale up manufacturing so that we can help address this global health emergency.”
Dr. Nathan Alderson, CEO of The Hope Research Institute, says he's excited that his company is able to be a part of what could be a historic turnaround in developing such an important vaccine.
"Typically, the normal approval process is 10 years from start to finish for many drugs under development," he said.
Alderson says the vaccine is part of "Operation Warp Speed", being fast tracked by the FDA.
"The joint effort between pharmaceutical companies and the federal government has just been astounding," he added. "For somebody that’s been doing this for 20 plus years at this point, it’s just amazing to watch the industry move this quickly at this point.”
The goal, according to Alderson, is to develop 300 million doses of a safe and effective vaccine by January of 2021.
"If we can develop a safe and effective vaccine, that is just a huge step forward in the fight against COVID-19," added Alderson. "It would be the first step to really allowing life to return to normal as we know it now.”
The Hope Research Institute is still looking for volunteers to participate in the vaccine trials, set to start Monday, July 27.
To sign up, visit their website.