By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There is some potential progress in the search for a COVID-19 vaccine. There’s been a lot of buzz about this vaccine, developed by a biotech company in Boston along with the federal government.

On Monday, results from this very early research showed it triggering the hope for immune responses in volunteers testing it.

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Moderna Therapeutics says the first eight volunteers who tested their potential vaccine for COVID-19 developed antibodies against the virus.

“This is a very first important step in the journey toward having a vaccine available for the people who need it the most,” Moderna Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tal Zaks said.

Moderna is producing the vaccine in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, led by Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The first phase of the clinical trial included 45 participants who received one of three dose levels of the vaccine and they all developed some antibodies.

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Their goal is to have a viable vaccine by the end of the year.

“There are circumstances where the vaccine could be deployed to high-risk populations earlier, under something called an emergency use authorization,” said Moderna President Dr. Stephen Hoge.

Moderna is developing one of several vaccines under a newly launched government program called Operation Warp Speed, which will begin manufacturing vaccines before the trials are completed.

“So, 300 million is the goal and by January that we would set, whether by one or multiple vaccine candidates to be able to have,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.

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Moderna has been cleared by the FDA to move on to phase two of its vaccine trial. That will include 600 people and is expected to begin quickly.

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Experts point out this is one of several COVID-19 vaccines being tested.

Stephanie Stahl