Phase 3 clinical trials began Monday for a coronavirus vaccine that will include as many as 30,000 volunteers. The first patients have already received injections at a trial site in Savannah, Georgia.
But as the pandemic grinds on, the nascent Major League Baseball season looked like it might be in jeopardy with two games canceled after multiple players tested positive for the coronavirus.
For the Phase 3 trials of the vaccine developed by the National Institutes of Health, along with biotech company Moderna, as many as 30,000 adult volunteers were to be injected at nearly 100 test sites across the U.S. Patients will randomly receive two 100 microgram injections of the vaccine or a placebo, with neither volunteers nor doctors knowing who is receiving what to ensure the trial remains as random as possible.
In a statement about the trial, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said early results indicated the investigational mRNA-1273 vaccine “is safe and immunogenic, supporting the initiation of a Phase 3 clinical trial. This scientifically rigorous, randomized, placebo-controlled trial is designed to determine if the vaccine can prevent COVID-19 and for how long such protection may last.”
The vaccine is one of 25 currently in clinical trials and the fifth to enter Phase 3 trials.
Elsewhere, the MLB has canceled the New York Yankees-Philadelphia Phillies game slated for Monday night and postponed the Miami Marlins’ home opener against the Baltimore Orioles after reports indicated that a dozenMarlins’ players had tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Tonight’s scheduled games between the Miami Marlins and the Baltimore Orioles at Marlins Park and the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees at Citizens Bank Park have been postponed while Major League Baseball conducts additional COVID-19 testing,” the MLB said in a statement.
“The members of the Marlins’ traveling party are self-quarantining in place while awaiting the outcome of those results. Major League Baseball has been coordinating with the Major League Baseball Players Association, the Marlins, the Orioles, the Marlins’ weekend opponent, the Phillies, and club medical staffs, and will continue to provide updates as appropriate.”
The MLB planned a call with owners from all 30 teams to discuss the situation, The New York Times reported, with MLB Network’s Jon Heyman saying the league had not seriously considered pausing the entire season since the outbreak has been confined to only the Marlins team.
At the White House, President Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien tested positive for the virus and was exhibiting mild symptoms. O’Brien, 54, contracted the virus after a family event and had been working from home after earlier traveling to Europe and Arizona, Bloomberg reported. O’Brien’s symptoms are mild, and there was no risk of exposure to the president and vice president, the White House said in a statement. But it was unclear how much contact O’Brien has had with the president.
O’Brien is the highest-ranking White House employee to test positive for the coronavirus, which also included a communications aide to Vice President Mike Pence, Trump’s personal valet, a Marine assigned to Trump’s helicopter team, and members of the Secret Service.
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