First human trial of coronavirus vaccine starts in US

First human trial of coronavirus vaccine starts in US

New York: The first human trial to test effectiveness of a vaccine being developed against the new coronavirus has started in the US.

Four volunteers were administered with the vaccine code-named ‘mRNA1273’, developed by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists and collaborators at Cambridge-based biotechnology company Moderna.

However, the NIH officials said it would take at least a year to 18 months for the clinical trials to be completed.

As part of the study, the trial will cover 45 volunteers in the age group of 18 to 55 over a six-week period. The trial will take place at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle.

“We all feel so helpless. This is an amazing opportunity for me to do something (for the humanity),” Jennifer Haller, the first person to get the jab told Associated Press news agency.

Dr Anthony Fauci of the NIH told the agency that even if the trial turns out to be successful, a vaccine couldn’t be made available for widespread use for another 12 to 18 months.

With the COVID-19 spreading rapidly across the globe, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) gave nod for clinical trials of the vaccine without thorough testing in animal models, the usual procedure. This is aimed at making the possible public use of the vaccine faster.

So far, there is no approved vaccines or treatments against the novel coronavirus diseases, known as COVID-19, which has infected over 1,75,000 people and killed at least 7000. The World Health Organisation, which declared the infection as a pandemic recently, has called on nations to enhance testing and initiative stringent measures to contain the virus spread.

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