The first human clinical trial of a potential vaccine to protect against coronavirus started in the United States on Monday.
According to Associated Press (AP), a government source, who disclosed this on condition of anonymity, revealed the trial will take place at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle.
The trial will commence with 45 young, healthy volunteers — aged between 18 and 55 — who will be infected during the process to test the effectiveness of the vaccine on the virus.
Each participant is expected to get different doses of shots co-developed by NIH and Moderna Inc.
The participants are not at risk of being infected with the bug, because the shots do not contain the virus itself.
The process, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is aimed at determining if the vaccine shows side-effects, ahead of larger trials expected to come later in the year, to fully ascertain its efficacy.
Health officials, however, noted that it would take a year to 18 months to ascertain the effectiveness of the trial vaccine for the killer virus.
John Tregoning, an expert in infectious diseases at Imperial College London, UK, told BBC that the vaccine was made from a weakened or killed virus.
“This vaccine uses pre-existing technology. It’s been made to a very high standard, using things that we know are safe to use in people and those taking part in the trial will be very closely monitored,” he said.
“Yes, this is very fast – but it is a race against the virus, not against each other as scientists, and it’s being done for the benefit of humanity.”
Search for COVID-19 vaccine has continued to intensify across the globe amid rising cases of people killed by the killer virus.
Since its outbreak in China in December, the virus has killed over 5,000 persons, with at least 138,000 infected across more than 100 countries.
Meanwhile, we had earlier reported how some Australian researchers found what they described as a “potential cure” for the coronavirus.