Virus vaccine put to final test in thousands of volunteers

Virus vaccine put to final test in thousands of volunteers
Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world's biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink) (Hans Pennink)

The world’s biggest COVID-19 vaccine study got underway Monday with the first of 30,000 planned volunteers helping to test shots created by the U.S. government -- one of several candidates in the final stretch of the global vaccine race.

There's still no guarantee that the experimental vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., will really protect.

The needed proof: Volunteers won’t know if they’re getting the real shot or a dummy version. After two doses, scientists will closely track which group experiences more infections as they go about their daily routines, especially in areas where the virus still is spreading unchecked.

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“Unfortunately for the United States of America, we have plenty of infections right now” to get that answer, NIH’s Dr. Anthony Fauci recently told The Associated Press.

Moderna said the vaccination was done in Savannah, Georgia, the first site to get underway among more than seven dozen trial sites scattered around the country.