The quest for a COVID-19 vaccine reached an important juncture Monday as Moderna Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech company, begun the first phase 3 trial of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the U.S.

Phase 3 is the final phase for a vaccine, so it is meant to answer the big question: Does the vaccine work to prevent COVID-19?

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

"This is the main event, if you will, in drug development." Dr. Stephen Hoge, president of Moderna, said.

Moderna partnered with the National Institute of Allery and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, for its vaccine research.

"We urgently need a safe and effective preventive vaccine to ultimately control this pandemic," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of NIAID, said in a statement Monday.

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