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U.S. volunteer receives first shot of experimental coronavirus vaccine

Christian Fernsby |
U.S. researchers gave the first shot to the first person in a test of an experimental coronavirus vaccine yesterday.

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Topics: U.S.    CORONAVIRUS    VACCINE   

With a careful jab in a healthy volunteer’s arm, scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle begin an anxiously awaited first stage study of a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed in record tim.

“We’re team coronavirus now,” Kaiser Permanente study leader Dr. Lisa Jackson said on the eve of the experiment. “Everyone wants to do what they can in this emergency.”

The Associated Press observed as the study’s first participant, an operations manager at a small tech company, received the injection inside an exam room. Several others were next in line for a test that will ultimately give 45 volunteers two doses, a month apart.

“We all feel so helpless. This is an amazing opportunity for me to do something,” said Jennifer Haller, 43, of Seattle. She’s the mother of two teenagers and “they think it’s cool” that she’s taking part in the study.

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 wouldn’t be available for widespread use for 12 to 18 months, said Dr. Anthony Fauci of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. That’s still important if the virus becomes a long-term threat.

This vaccine candidate, code-named mRNA-1273, was developed by the NIH and Massachusetts-based biotechnology company Moderna Inc. There’s no chance participants could get infected from the shots because they don’t contain the coronavirus itself.


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