Right now handling cases of the novel coronavirus is not that simple. There is no proper treatment, and we are still unsure of what the future could hold.

Regardless of what it’s being called, this novel coronavirus is a very scary situation and seems to be rapidly evolving. With more cases coming forth we need a vaccine and soon. Lucky for us, it sees here in the US clinical trials for a potential vaccine have begun or are to begin very soon.

According to NIH, this human trial has begun at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. For this trial, 45 healthy adult volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55 will be receiving the vaccine. It will take about six weeks for everyone involved to get their vaccine and then from there different doses will be evaluated depending on how much each person was given. 

NIH wrote as follows about this vaccine that could potentially be used for the novel coronavirus:

The vaccine is called mRNA-1273 and was developed by NIAID scientists and their collaborators at the biotechnology company Moderna, Inc., based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) supported the manufacturing of the vaccine candidate for the Phase 1 clinical trial.

“Finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2 is an urgent public health priority,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “This Phase 1 study, launched in record speed, is an important first step toward achieving that goal.”

Infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can cause a mild to severe respiratory illness and include symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. COVID-19 cases were first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. As of March 15, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported 153,517 cases of COVID-19 and 5,735 deaths worldwide. More than 2,800 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 58 deaths have been reported in the United States as of March 15, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This vaccine is supposed to direct the body’s cells to express a virus protein that researchers hope will ‘elicit a robust immune response’ but we do not know yet if things will play out like that. While it has shown interesting results in animals, human trials are very different. The volunteers involved will be returning to the clinic for follow-up visits between vaccinations to see how things are doing but even if this trial goes well it could still be around 18 months before the vaccine is released.

This because even if it passes lots more trial phases will need to be gone through in order to prove that it is actually a safe vaccine. With the novel coronavirus affecting more and more people news like this is both exciting and still saddening because of how long it will take to get things where they need to be. This research is being funded by the National Institutes of Health and only time will tell if it is working or now. 

Dr. John Tregoning an expert on this kind of thing from Imperial College London, UK told BBC as follows on the topic:

“This vaccine uses pre-existing technology.”

“It’s been made to a very high standard, using things that we know are safe to use in people and those taking part in the trial will be very closely monitored.”

“Yes, this is very fast – but it’s a race against the virus, not against each other as scientists, and it’s being done for the benefit of humanity.”

In the meantime please do your best to remain safe and sanitary as this crisis continues. Things are likely to get worse before they get better.

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