United Kingdom

Moderna will being testing its coronavirus vaccine in children as young as 12

Moderna Inc will begin testing its COVID-19 vaccine in children, who are capable of passing on the virus, to high-risk group in its large, late-stage trial. 

According to clinicaltrials.gov, a registry of clinical trials run by the US National Library of Medicine, the study will enroll 3,000 participants between ages 12 and 17.

Half of the volunteers will be given two shots of Moderna's immunization four weeks apart and the other half will get salt water placebos.

It's unclear when the trial will commence, but the website estimates the study will be completed in June 2022.

It comes just two days after Moderna announced its vaccine was 94.1 percent effective at preventing COVID-19, and that it had applied to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorization.

Moderna will begin testing its experimental coronavirus vaccine in children between ages 12 and 17 with around 3,000 participants (file image)

Half will receive two injections of the shot and the other half receiving a placebo, with the trial scheduled to end June 2022. Pictured: A sign marks the headquarters of Moderna Therapeutics, May 2020

The posting says the study is 'not yet recruiting' and Colleen Hussey, a spokeswoman for Moderna, told The New York Times that it is unclear when volunteers would begin enrolling.   

The website states that testing locations will be in Idaho, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.   

Moderna did not reply to DailyMail.com's request for comment. 

Pfizer Inc began testing its coronavirus vaccine in children as young as age 12 in October. AstraZeneca has also begun testing kids, but not in the US.

However, by and large, children, who rarely develop severe COVID-19 symptoms or require hospitalization for the disease, have not been tested in trials for experimental jabs. 

In a statement posted in October, the CDC said that clinical trials had only included healthy, non-pregnant adults up that point.

However, the federal agency noted the recommended groups could change in the future as clinical trials expand to recruit more people.     

'In early clinical trials for various COVID-19 vaccines, only non-pregnant adults participated,' the statement read.

'However, clinical trials continue to expand those recruited to participate. The groups recommended to receive the vaccines could change in the future.'

Children are often the last group to be tested during clinical trials because they are not merely little adults. 

Their bodies and immune systems behave differently, meaning they might have different treatment needs.  

What's more, children may need different doses or needle sizes depending on their  height, weight and age - which is why most children are only vaccinated after safety has been well-documented in the adult population. 

Moderna's vaccine was developed in partnership with the National Institutes of Health.

It uses part of the pathogen's genetic code called messenger RNA, or mRNA, to get the body to recognize the coronavirus and attack it if a person becomes infected.

The candidate, called mRNA-1273, works by tricking the body into producing some of the viral proteins, which the immune system then recognizes and builds a defensive response against.

It was found to be 94.1 percent effect at preventing COVID-19 and 100 percent effective at preventing severe disease.

The FDA's vaccine advisory committee is holding a meeting on Moderna's jab on December 17. If approved, healthcare workers and long-term care residents will be the first groups vaccinated.   

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