On Monday, March 16, 2020, as the number of people infected with coronavirus rose to over 170,000 and the number of deaths from it rose to over 6,500 worldwide, U.S. researchers led the way in a worldwide search for a vaccine for this deadly disease by administering the first shots in a test round of a potential coronavirus vaccine.
The first phase of this study, under the direction of scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle, began with four healthy volunteers who were administered injections of the test vaccine against the coronavirus, also referred to as COVID-19. The test vaccination will ultimately be given to 45 volunteers in two doses that are one month apart. This vaccine candidate does not pose any risk of infecting the test participants because it does not contain the coronavirus itself.
This is just the beginning of a series of studies that will be conducted to determine the efficacy and safety of the shots.
This vaccine, code-named mRNA-1273 was developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in conjunction with the Massachusetts-based biotech company, Moderna Inc.
Dr. Anthony Fauci of the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) said that finding a vaccine “is an urgent public health priority,” but even if the research for a vaccine goes well, it will not be available for widespread use for 12 to 18 months. He went on to say that the new study “is an important first step toward achieving that goal.”
Dozens of research teams around the world have been racing to create a vaccine to protect people from COVID-19 and another U.S. based company, Inovio Pharmaceuticals is supposed to begin a safety study for its candidate next month in the U.S., China, and South Korea.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared this new coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. It’s important to find a vaccine for this as soon as possible not only to protect the health of people throughout the globe but to also help to mend the tearing of the world’s social and economic fabric that has increasingly occurred since the virus was first identified in January.