In the midst of today’s coronavirus-related stock market volatility comes some potentially very good news: U.S. health officials have confirmed that initial rounds of testing for a coronavirus vaccine are now underway.
Read on to learn more…
Coronavirus vaccine test opens as US volunteer gets 1st shot
SEATTLE (AP) — U.S. researchers gave the first shot to the first person in a test of an experimental coronavirus vaccine Monday — leading off a worldwide hunt for protection even as the pandemic surges.
With a careful jab in a healthy volunteer’s arm, scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle begin an anxiously awaited first-stage study of a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed in record time after the new virus exploded from China and fanned across the globe.
“We’re team coronavirus now,” Kaiser Permanente study leader Dr. Lisa Jackson said on the eve of the experiment. “Everyone wants to do what they can in this emergency.”
The Associated Press observed as the study’s first participant received the injection inside an exam room. Several others were next in line for a test that will ultimately give 45 volunteers two doses, a month apart.
This vaccine candidate, code-named mRNA-1273, was developed by the NIH and Massachusetts-based biotechnology company Moderna Inc. There’s no chance participants could get infected from the shots because they don’t contain the coronavirus itself.
It’s not the only potential vaccine in the pipeline. Dozens of research groups around the world are racing to create a vaccine against COVID-19. Another candidate, made by Inovio Pharmaceuticals, is expected to begin its own safety study — in the U.S., China and South Korea — next month.
Starting what scientists call a first-in-humans study is a momentous occasion for scientists, but Jackson described her team’s mood as “subdued.” They’ve been working round-the-clock readying the research in a part of the U.S. struck early and hard by the virus.
Still, “going from not even knowing that this virus was out there … to have any vaccine” in testing in about two months is unprecedented, Jackson told The AP.