First human trial for coronavirus vaccine begins

U.S. health officials confirmed on Monday the first human trial testing a potential vaccine to prevent COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Read about the coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the NIH website.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a federal agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, has been fast-tracking work with biotech company Moderna to develop a vaccine using the current strain of the new coronavirus, reports CNBC:

The trial is taking place at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle, Washington, where COVID-19 cases have surged and authorities have banned mass gatherings. The early-stage, or phase 1, trial will test the vaccine on 45 males and non-pregnant females between the ages of 18 and 55, according to trial details on NIH's website.

As I understand it, this first phase is about determining whether the drug causes harm to humans. Testing the safety of any new drug comes first.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director, last week said that even in the best case scenario, a vaccine isn't likely for at least 12 to 18 months.

More from CNBC:

He said the potential vaccine by Moderna contains genetic material called messenger RNA, or mRNA, that was produced in a lab. The mRNA is a genetic code that tells cells how to make a protein and was found in the outer coat of the new coronavirus, according to researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute.

The mRNA instructs the body's own cellular mechanisms for making proteins to make those that mimic the virus proteins, thereby producing an immune response.


In the meantime, some health authorities are using Gilead Sciences' antiviral drug Remdesivir, which was tested as a possible treatment during the Ebola outbreak. CDC director Robert Redfield said at a separate hearing last week that the drug is being used in Washington state.

Read the full article at CNBC:
First human trial for coronavirus vaccine begins Monday in the US

And read more about the clinical trial at NIH:
NIH clinical trial of investigational vaccine for COVID-19 begins

And AP has a related story here:
AP Exclusive: Coronavirus vaccine test opens with 1st doses