- In the race to find cure for the novel coronavirus, a biotech company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts has announced that the first batch of vaccine has been shipped for human testing.
- The first vial of cure was sent to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda, Maryland.
- Moderna Therapeutics was able to come up with a vaccine.
- Human testing is expected to commence as early as April.
In the race to create a vaccine for the deadly coronavirus that has infected numerous countries worldwide, a biotech company called Moderna Therapeutics, has announced the shipment of the first batch of coronavirus vaccine. This development was made 42 days after Chinese scientists released the genetic sequence of the virus that’s now called SARs-CoV-2.
In a report written by Time, Moderna sent its first coronavirus vial to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. This institution will prepare the vaccine and conduct testing on human volunteers by April.
The report also said that the NIH scientists will be testing two viruses simultaneously. Experts added that they have been already testing an anti-viral drug called “remdesivir” for patients with Ebola. The remdesivir vaccine has been injected to a SARs-CoV-2 patient. This trial was the first drug to be tested in treating COVID-19.
The first patient who volunteered in this groundbreaking research is an American who was tested positive of coronavirus after boarding the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Additionally, other patients who were tested of the virus will also be part of the study.
Based on the preliminary study, remdesivir vaccine showed significant result when injected to animals that were infected with two related coronaviruses: one, the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARs); and two, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The scientists said human volunteers will be randomly picked to be injected either with the drug or a placebo for 10 days. There will be a series of blood tests, nose and throat swabs every two days of the drug testing, “to track the amount of virus ” in the volunteers’ bodies.
“Even if the drug shows some efficacy in keeping blood levels of SARs-CoV-2 from growing, it could help to contain (the) spread of the infection” the report in TIME, stated.
Scientists explained that they were able to develop the COVID-19 vaccine due to a “relatively new genetic method” that does not require huge samples of virus, compared to the previous process. They instead boosted that vaccine with this mRNA, a genetic material the was sourced from DNA that makes proteins. Moderna explained that they loaded the COVID-19 vaccine with mRNA and started creating the protein for “other immune cells to recognize” and mark the virus “for destruction”.
Moderna Therapeutics president Dr. Stephen Hoge explained that this type of protein is described like a software molecule in biology. The vaccine, he added, is likened to a software which will immediately be programmed in the body once it is injected. The mRNA forms proteins that can generate an “immune response” against the virus.
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