The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) have announced the start of the first phase of the clinical trial of the experimental vaccine developed as a means of protecting the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Human testing began at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle.
The first participant in the clinical trial, Jennifer Haller, 43, has already received an experimental dose. In total, 45 people participate in the clinical trial who will receive two doses of the vaccine one month apart.
“We all feel very helpless. This is a great opportunity to do something,” said Haller.
Monday’s milestone marked just the start of a series of studies in people needed to demonstrate whether the vaccines are safe and could work against covid-19. Even if all goes well, the vaccine would not be available for extensive use for 12 to 18 months, said Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health.
The experimental vaccine, known under the code name mRNA-1273, was developed by the NIH and the Massachusetts-based biotech company Moderna Inc. The possibility of transmission of the participants is ruled out, since the vaccines do not contain the coronavirus itself.
Dozens of research groups around the world are rushing to create an effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. One of the medicines, made by Inovio Pharmaceuticals, is expected to be tested in the US, China and South Korea in April.