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The COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough that’s ‘a reason for optimism’

A COVID-19 vaccine being trialled in the United States has produced results that an infectious diseases expert says are “a reason for optimism”.

The vaccine, made by Moderna, produced antibodies which killed viruses in all people who participated in the trial.

Infectious diseases expert Professor Peter Collignon, from the Australian National University, said it’s not just the fact that the trial participants developed antibodies that’s important.

“More importantly, they produced what we call neutralising antibodies. The significance of that is we’ve got a lot of diseases where you produce antibodies — look at HIV, hepatitis c — but it doesn’t kill the virus,” he told Ross and John.

“This particular one did neutralise or inactivate the virus, so that was good news.”

Professor Collignon warned that the vaccine trial is still in early stages, but said the Moderna vaccine is not the only one showing promising signs.

“There’s one from Oxford that’s teaming up with a drug company called Pfizer that’s actually looking like it’s got some optimism too,” he said.

“It’s not a given that we will get a vaccine, but at least this is starting to look optimistic.”

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