Researchers launch first coronavirus vaccine trial

Researchers on Monday administered the first shot in a trial for a potential vaccine for the novel coronavirus, federal officials said.

The trial is taking place at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle and aims to enroll 45 healthy adults over a six-week period, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Study participants will receive two doses of the vaccine approximately 28 days apart.

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The study is a phase one trial. It is meant to evaluate different doses of an experimental vaccine and is the first of multiple steps in the clinical trial process for evaluating its potential benefit.

The vaccine was developed by the NIH and its collaborators at Moderna Inc., based in Cambridge, Mass. It took only about two months for Moderna to develop the vaccine and ship it to the NIH.

But while the trial launched in record speed, public health officials have been stressing for weeks that a vaccine won't be ready for 12 to 18 months in the best circumstances.

Currently, no approved vaccines exist to prevent infection with the novel coronavirus. The investigational vaccine has shown promise in animal models, and this is the first trial to examine it in humans.

"Finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection with [the novel coronavirus] is an urgent public health priority," National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said in a statement Monday. "This Phase 1 study, launched in record speed, is an important first step toward achieving that goal."