The coronavirus vaccines developed by Moderna is set to enter its final stage of testing, The Associated Press reports.
The vaccine, developed by the pharmaceutical giant and the National Institutes of Health, will be tested on about 30,000 people at numerous testing sites around the United States.
Volunteers will be given either the vaccine or a placebo.
Researchers will track the participants to see which ones are infected over the months-long trial.
The trial is expected to last for months and there is no guarantee that the vaccine will be approved.
The first step toward defeating the coronavirus:
"We've been sitting on the sidelines passively attempting to wear our masks and social distance and not go out when it's not necessary. This is the first step of becoming active against this," Dr. Frank Eder of Meridian Clinical Research, which will run a trial site in Binghampton, told the AP. "There's really no other way to get past this."
"I'm excited to be part of something like this. This is huge," Melissa Harting, a nurse who volunteered for the trial, told the outlet, adding that protecting her family and "doing our part to eradicate it is very important to me."
Vaccine testing moves faster than ever:
The vaccine is well ahead of schedule, at least compared to previous vaccine development efforts.
The NIH vowed that there would be no cutting corners in the trial.
"This is a significant milestone," NIH Director Francis Collins told the AP. "Yes, we're going fast, but no, we are not going to compromise.”
"We are focusing on speed because every day matters," said Moderna CEO Stephanie Bancel.
The results could be available by November or December.
It’s unclear how effective the vaccine would be.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that he would be happy with a vaccine that is 60% effective.
Oxford University is also set to begin its final trial next month, Johnson & Johnson is scheduled for its final trial in September, and Novavax is planning to start its trial in October.
Pfizer is also expected to start its final trial this summer.
"We really are going to depend upon that sense of volunteerism for individuals from every different corner of society if we're going to really find out how this vaccine, and its potential to end this terrible pandemic, is go to work in each of those groups," Collins said.