THURSDAY, June 11, 2020 (HealthDay News) — A large clinical trial of the first U.S. COVID-19 vaccine could begin next month, according to Moderna Inc., which developed the vaccine with the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

The trial will assess whether the vaccine is effective and will include 30,000 volunteers who will receive either the vaccine or a placebo shot, the Associated Press reported. That trial cannot start until results of smaller, earlier-stage studies on safety and dosing are available, but Moderna said those studies are progressing well enough to start planning for the large trial.

About a dozen COVID-19 vaccines are in the early stages of testing worldwide, and the U.S. National Institutes of Health expects to assist several more of them in conducting large, late-stage trials this summer, the AP reported. If all goes well, “there will be potential to get answers” on which vaccines work by the end of the year, John Mascola, M.D., director of the NIH vaccine research center, told a meeting of the National Academy of Medicine on Wednesday.

Hundreds of millions of doses of different vaccine candidates are being stockpiled by governments to use when/if scientists conclude that one is effective. The United States plans to have 300 million doses available by January, the AP reported.

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