Researchers in US give first shot to person in experimental COVID-19 vaccine test

Updated: Mar 18, 2020, 18:43 IST | ANI | Washington

Forty-three-year-old Jennifer Haller of Seattle, an operations manager at a tech company, received the injection inside an exam room

Workers spray disinfectant as a precaution against a new coronavirus at a nursing hospital. Pic/ AP/ PTI
Workers spray disinfectant as a precaution against a new coronavirus at a nursing hospital. Pic/ AP/ PTI

As coronavirus cases continue to shoot up across the globe, researchers in the US gave first shot to the first person in a test of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine on Monday. According to a report by the Associated Press (AP), 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 time'. Forty-three-year-old Jennifer Haller of Seattle, an operations manager at a tech company, received the injection inside an exam room.

Haller, the mother of two teenagers, termed it an "amazing opportunity" for her to "do something". The said 'vaccine', codenamed mRNA-1273, was developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Massachusetts-based biotechnology company Moderna Inc. More than 1,50,000 people have been infected worldwide by the virus which originated in China last December and has claimed the lives of over 6,500 people.

"We are team coronavirus now. Everyone wants to do what they can in this emergency," Kaiser Permanente study leader Dr Lisa Jackson was quoted as saying on the eve of the experiment. Jackson said that from not even knowing that coronavirus was out there to have any vaccine in testing in about two months is 'unprecedented'. She, although, said that it is not at this stage where it would be "possible or prudent" to give it to the general population.

The tests came amid worldwide attempts to develop the vaccine for the deadly virus. However, these vaccines are unlikely to be available for widespread use anytime for 12 to 18 months, said Dr Anthony Fauci of the NIH. Finding a vaccine "is an urgent public health priority," Dr Fauci was quoted as saying.

According to the AP report, most of the vaccine research underway targets a protein aptly named "spike" that studs the surface of the new coronavirus and lets it invade human cells.

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