Moderna COVID-19 vaccine enters phase three trials

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(NBC News) — Drugmaker Moderna and the National Institutes of Health announced Monday they’re starting Phase Three trials for their COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

The trial will enroll 30,000 Americans. Half will receive the experimental vaccine, the other half a placebo.

After two doses, researchers will track which group develops more infections as they go about their lives.

“What obviously you want to see is the vaccine reduces the number of cases of COVID-19 in people who have received the vaccine,” says Moderna president Dr. Stephen Hoge.

The Trump administration pledged an additional $472 million to Moderna over the weekend.

Through operation warp speed, the U.S. government has put big money into several companies including Pfizer, which is also set to start its phase three trials soon, and Johnson & Johnson, which began a Phase One trial Monday.

To gain approval from the Food and Drug administration a vaccine must be at least 50 percent effective.

The World Health Organization says there are 25 potential candidates in clinical trials globally.

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