Coronavirus: Human trial of Covid-19 vaccine begins in US

Coronavirus, Human, trial, Covid-19, vaccine, begins, US
Pharmacist Michael Witte gives Neal Browning a shot of the trial vaccine in Seattle. - AP

Washington - The vaccine is called mRNA-1273 and was developed by US National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists.


Published: Tue 17 Mar 2020, 10:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 18 Mar 2020, 12:18 AM

The first human trial to evaluate a candidate vaccine against the new coronavirus has begun in Seattle, US health officials said on Monday, raising hopes in the global fight against the disease.
But it may be another year to 18 months before it becomes available, once it has passed more trial phases to prove it works and is safe.
The vaccine is called mRNA-1273 and was developed by US National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists and collaborators at biotechnology company Moderna, which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"The open-label trial will enroll 45 healthy adult volunteers ages 18 to 55 years over approximately 6 weeks," the NIH said. "The first participant received the investigational vaccine today."
Funding was also provided by the Oslo-based Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
There are currently 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.
Coronaviruses are spherical and have spikes protruding from their surface, giving them a crown-like appearance. The spike binds to human cells, allowing the virus to gain entry.
The Moderna candidate vaccine carries the genetic information of this spike in a substance called 'messenger RNA'. Injecting human tissue with the spike's messenger RNA makes it grow inside the body, thereby eliciting an immune response without having actually infected a person with the full-blown virus.

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