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March 17, 2020 Tuesday 11:15:00 AM IST

Coronavirus vaccine test opens with 1st doses

Science Innovations

Associated Press news agency reports that the first human trial of a vaccine to protect against pandemic coronavirus has started in the US. Four patients received the jab at the Kaiser Permanente research facility in Seattle, Washington. The vaccine cannot cause Covid-19 but contains a harmless genetic code copied from the virus that causes the disease. It is a check that would normally be conducted - making sure the vaccine can trigger an immune response in animals. This vaccine candidate, code-named mRNA-1273, was developed by the NIH and Massachusetts-based biotechnology company Moderna Inc.  

AP reports that the researchers at the NIH copied the section of the virus’ genetic code that contains the instructions for cells to create the spike protein. Moderna encased that “messenger RNA” into a vaccine. The idea is that the body will become a mini-factory, producing some harmless spike protein. When the immune system spots the foreign protein, it will make antibodies to attack — and be primed to react quickly if the person later encounters the real virus. That’s a much faster way of producing a vaccine than the traditional approach of growing virus in the lab and preparing shots from either killed or weakened versions of it.

The volunteers were being given different doses of the experimental vaccine. They will each be given two jabs in total, 28 days apart, into the upper arm muscle. "Monday’s milestone marked just the beginning of a series of studies in people needed to prove whether the shots are safe and could work. Even if the research goes well, a vaccine would not be available for widespread use for 12 to 18 months," said Dr. Anthony Fauci of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.


(Originally Written by: LAURAN NEERGAARD and CARLA K. JOHNSON on https://apnews.com/76b614811eef32955180c8260188bc24)



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