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A novel coronavirus drug trial has given a dose to its first participant, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) reported Monday.
The study — which is funded by NIAID and is being conducted at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle — is in Phase I to create a vaccine that is safe and able to elicit the desired results from a person’s immune system, according to CNN.
During the trial, each participant will be administered two injections in varying doses about a month apart from one another. The NIAID hopes to track 45 healthy adults over six-weeks.
At UNMC/Nebraska Medicine, there is another vaccine trial involving two American passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise. They were quarantined in Nebraska and volunteered to be involved in the testing, Time reported. This trial is for a drug called Remdesivir.
“Finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection with (the novel coronavirus) is an urgent public health priority,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the NIAID director said in a statement Monday, per CNN.
“This Phase 1 study, launched in record speed, is an important first step toward achieving that goal,” he added.
However, even if a trial vaccine prompts the desired responses, several follow-up studies — which could take months — would be needed to prove that the vaccine is able to prevent COVID-19.
Fauci added that scientists had a “head start for developing a vaccine candidate to protect against COVID-19,” as researchers had already worked on a similar vaccine for MERS.
“Although Remdesivir has been administered to some patients with COVID-19, we do not have solid data to indicate it can improve clinical outcomes. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial is the gold standard for determining if an experimental treatment can benefit patients.”
The first cases of a mysterious respiratory illness began in Wuhan, China, in late December. Since then, the virus has spread worldwide, leading the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency, the first since the zika epidemic in 2016.
As of Tuesday morning, there are at least 4,482 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., and 86 people have died. Worldwide, there are now 190,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 7,500 deaths.
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