A sign marks the headquarters of Moderna Therapeutics, which is developing a vaccine against the coronavirus disease, in Cambridge, Massachusetts [Brian Snyder/Reuters]

Early data from a US biotechnology firm’s COVID-19 vaccine, the first to be tested in the United States, has showed that it produced protective antibodies in a small group of healthy volunteers, the company, Moderna Inc, said on Monday.

The data is from eight people who took part in a safety trial that kicked off in March as the global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus was spreading.

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In the trial of 45 volunteers, conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, eight volunteers who got two doses of the vaccine produced protective antibodies roughly on par with

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