The fight against corona virus took a decisive step with a healthy volunteer in the US receiving the dose of an experimental vaccine to push it to the first phase of the clinical trial.
Over the next six weeks, the scientists will enroll 45 participants in the trial, which will test the safety of the vaccine as well as its ability to induce an immune response in the volunteers. The trial will take place at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle, officials said.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has given permissions fast-track the vaccine into clinical trials without thorough testing in animal models, in a bid to make it available at the earliest. But it is said it will take at least one year to roll out the vaccines.
Phase 1 trials examine a small group of people, typically between 20 and 80 individuals, who receive different doses of an experimental treatment. Over the course of several months, researchers monitor how each volunteer metabolizes the given treatment and what common side effects emerge in response to different doses. The 45 volunteers in the new trial will receive varying doses of the new vaccine, called mRNA-1273, and be monitored over a 14-month period. Volunteers will receive two injections of the vaccine in the upper arm, with a 28-day gap between doses.
If the vaccine works as designed, the immune system should generate antibodies that grab hold of a characteristic protein found on the surface of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, according to a report by Kaiser Permanente, the health care company conducting the trial. Rather than introducing a dead or weakened virus into the body to prompt this reaction, as conventional vaccines do, the vaccine instructs cells to build the viral protein themselves using a molecule called messenger RNA (mRNA). Once utilized by the body, the mRNA should break down and be eliminated, leaving only protective antibodies behind.