The coronavirus vaccine being developed by Moderna, the mRNA-1273, could be available by the end of the year. On Monday, U.S. officials announced that the drug maker had already begun the final-stage trial for its vaccine.

The large final-stage trial is designed to evaluate the safety of Moderna’s vaccine and determine if it can prevent symptomatic COVID-19 after two doses. It will also determine if the vaccine can help prevent coronavirus-related deaths.

The announcement by U.S. officials came after Moderna confirmed the start of a 30,000-subject trial of its vaccine under Donald Trump’s Operation Warp Speed program, the administration’s program to expedite the development of measures against the novel coronavirus. This stage is the final stage before the vaccine gets the approval of global regulators. Volunteers who will participate in the trial will receive two injections of either the mRNA-1273 or a placebo about 28 days apart.

According to top U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, a readout from the trial could be ready by November, December, or earlier. The official said he was “not particularly concerned” about the safety of the vaccine after seeing data from earlier small trials.

Earlier this year, the U.S. government granted Moderna nearly $1 billion USD to develop a coronavirus vaccine. Under the Operation Warp Speed program, the U.S. government helps finance the development of coronavirus vaccine candidates around the world. As of this writing, there are more than 150 coronavirus vaccine candidates in various stages of development, two dozens of which have already advanced to human trials.

In a statement, National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Francis Collins said they are speeding up the development of a coronavirus vaccine to respond to the pandemic as soon as possible. “Having a safe and effective vaccine distributed by the end of 2020 is a stretch goal, but it’s the right goal for the American people,” he said.

Once proven safe and effective, Moderna is committed to producing about 500 million to one billion doses of the coronavirus vaccine a year beginning 2021.

Vaccine Discussion about the Cuba's life-saving lung cancer vaccine called CimaVax-EGF is growing rapidly. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard