A clinical trial evaluating a vaccine designed to protect against the new coronavirus will begin Monday, a government official told The Associated Press on Sunday.
The first participant in the trial will receive the experimental vaccine on Monday, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the trial has not been publicly announced yet.
The National Institutes of Health is funding the trial, which is taking place at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle, the official said.
Public health officials say it will take a year to 18 months to fully validate any potential vaccine.
Testing will begin with 45 young, healthy volunteers with different doses of shots co-developed by NIH and Moderna Inc. There is no chance that participants could get infected from the shots, because they do not contain the virus itself.
The goal is purely to check that the vaccines show no worrisome side effects, setting the stage for larger tests, according to AP.
Dozens of research groups around the world are racing to create a vaccine as COVID-19 cases continue to grow. Importantly, they’re pursuing different types of vaccines — shots developed from new technologies that not only are faster to produce than traditional inoculations but might prove more potent.
Some researchers even aim for temporary vaccines, such as shots that might guard people’s health a month or two at a time while longer-lasting protection is developed.
Last Thursday, Medicago, a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Quebec City, Canada, announced it had successfully produced a Virus-Like Particle (VLP) of the coronavirus.
Production of the VLP is the first step in developing a vaccine for COVID-19 which will now undergo preclinical testing for safety and efficacy. Once this is completed, Medicago expects to discuss with the appropriate health agencies to initiate human trials of the vaccine by July or August of 2020, the company said.