First human trial of vaccine begins

Henrietta Strickland
April 1, 2020

There are now no approved vaccines or treatments against the coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19, which has infected more than 175,000 people across the world since it was first identified in central China in late December.

Clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine being developed for the Coronavirus pandemic has started yesterday in the U.S., and a Microsoft network engineer has been one of the first to receive the experimental product.

Moderna Therapeutics, the biotechnology company behind the work, said the vaccine has been made using a tried and tested process.

The first human clinical trial evaluating a potential vaccine against COVID-19 has started in the United States. "That's why we're doing a trial", Kaiser Permanente study leader Lisa Jackson said in a statement to the AP.

The investigational vaccine, mRNA-1273, will be tested on 45 healthy adult volunteers at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle. Funding was also provided by the Oslo-based Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

Biotech company ModernaTX, Inc. developed m-RNA-1273.

The search for a coronavirus COVID-19 vaccine is probably the most-wanted thing on this planet right now, outside of toilet paper that is - and don't worry, scientists are on top of it. Once the genetic information of SARS-CoV-2 became available, the scientists selected a sequence of the stabilised spike (S) protein of the virus and expressed it in the existing mRNA platform.

Three of the study participants spoke to The Associated Press on Monday. Each participant will be assigned to receive a 25 microgram (μg), 100μg or 250μg dose at both vaccinations, with 15 people in each dose cohort.

Four more participants will also be injected on Tuesday. The visits include an initial screening, two vaccinations, and eight follow-ups. They will be checked for side effects and have their blood tested to determine whether the vaccine is revving up their immune systems.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the new study, "launched in record speed, is an important first step toward achieving that goal".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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