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Moderna's experimental COVID-19 vaccine shows promise in early-stage study

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May 18 (Reuters) - Moderna Inc said on Monday its experimental COVID-19 vaccine produced antibodies that could "neutralize" the new coronavirus in patients in a small early stage clinical trial, sending its shares up 25%.

The levels of the antibodies were similar to those in blood samples of people who have recovered from COVID-19, early results from the study conducted by the National Institutes of Health showed.

Participants were given three different doses of the vaccine and Moderna said it saw dose-dependent increase in immunogenicity, the ability to provoke an immune response in the body.

The vaccine, mRNA-1273, was also found to be generally safe and well tolerated in the early-stage study, the drug developer said.

Moderna leads global efforts in developing a vaccine for the new coronavirus and last week, won the U.S. health agency's "fast track" label to speed up the regulatory review. It is looking to begin late-stage trials in July. (Reporting by Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)