- Scientists in the United States have started testing a potential vaccine for coronavirus.
- The first volunteer is Jennifer Haller of Seattle.
- Biotech company Moderna Therapeutic is already working with the Food and Drugs Association and other institutions in preparing for its phase 2 trial, which would involved a large numbers of volunteers.
After shipping the potential coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine to the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, researchers have began injecting the potential cure for SARs-CoV-2 CoronaVirus to their first brave volunteer Jennifer Haller, 43. The phase 1 clinical trial was conducted by Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle.
During the phase 1 clinical trial, researchers tested three different doses of the mRNA-1273 vaccine, and they plan on soon testing the vaccine to 45 other adults. The potential anti-viral was developed by a biotech company called Moderna Therapeutics in coordination with the NIH.
Haller, the first one to receive the dosage, has been injected with one shot of the vaccine and will again receive another one after 28 days. She will also be monitored to assess both the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine, which involves observing how well it stimulates an immune response to a protein on the SARs-CoV-2 CoronaVirus surface.
In a TIME interview, Haller shared: “I hope that we get to a working vaccine quickly and that we can save lives and people can go back to life as soon as possible”.
Haller, a mother of two, said, there was no side-effect after the researchers administered the vaccine, although it felt a bit sore. She admitted that she was so excited to volunteer in the phase 1 trial.
Haller also recalled she was made to sign a 45-page waiver when she enrolled for the clinical trial . Despite unknown effects of the vaccine, Haller said she was moved to enroll “out of a feeling of helplessness.”
While the first clinical trial is ongoing, Moderna medical officer Tal Zaks, M.d., Ph,D., said his team is currently working with the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) and other institutions in preparing for the second wave of the clinical trial.
In a recent report, 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 mRNA. 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.”
Two days after Moderna finished creating the vaccine, scientists at the Vaccine Research Center at the NIH finalized the design and began manufacturing it.
“This Phase 1 study, launched in record speed, is an important first step toward achieving that goal,” NIH-National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases chair Anthony Fauci said.
Fauci also stressed that the vaccine does not contain the coronavirus compared to other vaccines being manufactured. Instead, the vaccine contains a tiny piece of genetic code called mRNA. The mRNA was extracted from the virus and then scientists expanded it in the laboratory.
So far, Moderna is currently recruiting healthy people in Seattle who are ages 18 to 55 to take a big leap and join Haller in testing the new vaccine.
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