The first Coronavirus vaccine trials will begin today with at least one subject receiving a first-ever experimental dose of the potential inoculation, a government official said.
Throughout the trial — funded by the National Institutes of Health — 45 young, healthy volunteers will receive different doses of shots co-developed by the NIH and the Massachusetts-based biotech firm Moderna Inc.
Plans to test the first participant have not been publicly announced, but the official disclosed the information to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
Participants are not at risk of being infected with the bug, because the shots do not contain the virus itself.
The testing is set to occur at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle.
Dozens of research groups across the world are scrambling to create an effective COVID-19 vaccine as the number of global cases soars to more than 164,000 and 6,470 deaths.
Specifically, they are looking to create shots developed from new technologies that are both faster to produce than traditional inoculations and might prove more potent.
Temporary vaccines are on the table as well — including shots that may guard people’s health for a month or two at a time while a more long-term option is developed.
Pennsylvania-based biotech company Inovio Pharmaceuticals plans to launch safety tests of its vaccine candidate next month in a few dozen volunteers at the University of Pennsylvania and a Kansas City, Missouri, testing center.
A similar study will then take place in China and South Korea.
Coronavirus Vaccine Will Take Time
Even if initial safety tests go well, “you’re talking about a year to a year and a half” before any vaccine could be issued for public use, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the AP.
That length of time — required because thousands of additional studies are necessary to determine whether a vaccine is in fact effective and does no harm — would still be a record-setting pace.
President Trump has recently called for an expedited vaccine creation process — saying in recent days that the work is “moving along very quickly” and he hopes a vaccine will be ready “relatively soon.”
With Post wires
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