First experimental vaccine for coronavirus ready for human testing

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Moderna has become the first company to release a potential coronavirus vaccine, with the Boston-based biotech start-up announcing on Monday [February 24] that it had sent the vials to the US National Institutes of Health to be tested in humans.

Juan Andres, chief technical operations and quality officer at Moderna, said it was an “extraordinary effort” responding to the global health emergency with a “record speed” of 42 days from when the virus’ genome was sequenced.

The vaccine still needs to be tested in humans, where it could fail, and if it succeeds, it will still take months until it is widely available. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the NIH, told the Wall Street Journal that he expects a clinical trial of about 20 to 25 healthy volunteers to start in April, with initial results available in July and August.

Related article:  Podcast: Coronavirus—what it is, how it spreads and the surprising ways it might be treated

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