The first human trials in testing the vaccine for coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) were scheduled in the middle of March, 2020 at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle. The whole process is scheduled to have couple phases, where people (45 participants in total) will receive the vaccine and the development will be monitored over the next 14 months. The first phase of the testing involves 15 people, at age category from 18 to 55, who are healthy, not infected by the virus and have stable immune system.
The new vaccine was named mRNA-1273 – it has been made using the messenger RNA (mRNA) technology. This is an experimental approach aimed at facilitating much faster vaccine development. This vaccine doesn’t poses any cells or parts from the virus itself, instead it is created to trigger the human immune system in a different way, by instructing cells to produce specific proteins.
Professionals who work on it identified and recreated a segment of the mRNA that tells cells how to make a protein found on the surface of the virus, for injecting the mRNA into the body and produce the same immune response to SARS-CoV-2 as a conventional vaccine. Additionally, the mRNA segment can’t cause an infection and breaks down naturally in the human body. Scientist mention the effectiveness on this vaccine can be used in the future to treat human metapneumovirus, and with using this technology can be made a step to develop a universal flu vaccine. ( Source )
The company which stands behind developing this vaccine is Moderna Therapeutics, based in US. Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna mentioned in a report that, the most fascinating thing: – there had been some recent scientific breakthroughs where synthetic RNA was making protein in vivo. Also, he noted that after thinking about it, he realized that making a human protein in a human cell is probably not going to be worse than making it in bacteria.
From the latest report on their work, published on 23.03.2020 Moderna filed a Current Report on Form 8-K which included, among other things, information regarding the potential timing of the availability of a vaccine against COVID-19. The company also added that “a commercially-available vaccine is not likely to be available for at least 12–18 months, it is possible that under emergency use, a vaccine could be available to some people, possibly including healthcare professionals, in the fall of 2020.” ( Source )