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  • Human Trials For The First COVID-19 Vaccine Has Begun

    The vaccine was developed in record time
    by Lei Dimarucut-Sison .

    A potential vaccine for the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus, or COVID-19, has begun phase 1 of its clinical trials in Seattle, Washington, Forbes reported on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

    The much-awaited vaccine, called mRNA-1273, was developed in collaborative efforts between biotechnology company Moderna and researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

    Clinical trials mean testing the vaccine on humans, and three different doses are being considered.

    In the initial trial, participants will receive two shots of the vaccine each, administered 28 days apart. The vaccine's safety and immunogenicity, or its ability to elicit an immune response in the body, will be monitored and evaluated.

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    43-year-old American Jennifer Haller is the first person the vaccine was injected on. About 44 other people are participating initially, as Phase 2 of the clinical trials is being prepared, with a larger group involved. 

    The mRNA-1273 vaccine contains a piece of genetic code called mRNA that was extracted from the virus. This then "encodes the viral 'spike' protein which is vital for the coronavirus to gain access to human cells," the Forbes report states. The vaccine prevents the development of COVID-19 by stimulating the immune system to attack the virus.


    The development and trial of the mRNA-1273 vaccine was done at record speed — only 65 days after Chinese authorities shared the genome sequence of the virus with scientists. A first batch of the vaccine was manufactured for analytical testing on February 7, 2020, after which it was sent to the NIH.

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    Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH, said, "Finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2 is an urgent public health priority. This Phase 1 study, launched in record speed, is an important first step toward achieving that goal."

    Testing and evaluation of the vaccine, however, will take time — another 12 months, to be exact — to ensure that it is effective and safe for human use. 

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