Coronavirus: US researchers give healthy volunteer first shot of experimental vaccine (Photo Credit: Representative image)
US researchers have given a healthy volunteer the first shot of an experimental coronavirus vaccine even as the world is struggling to contain the deadly virus. The effort is one of several worldwide hunting for protection against COVID-19, according to news agency Associated Press. The study is run by scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle.
The shots were developed by the National Institutes of Health in record time after the new coronavirus exploded from China. Experts say it will be at least a year before any vaccine is ready for widespread use.
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's no chance participants could get infected from the shots, because they don't contain the virus itself. The goal is purely to check that the vaccines show no worrisome side effects, setting the stage for larger tests.
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.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The worldwide outbreak has sickened more than 156,000 people and left more than 5,800 dead. The death toll in the United States is more than 50, while infections neared 3,000 across 49 states and the District of Columbia. The vast majority of people recover.
According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three weeks to six weeks to recover.
(With agency inputs)