Feb 24, 2020 - Health

Experimental coronavirus vaccine to be tested on humans

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The vaccine that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and drugmaker Moderna have been developing to combat the coronavirus is ready to be tested on humans, NIAID director Anthony Fauci told the Wall Street Journal.

The state of play: The rapidly developed vaccine will be tested on 20–25 healthy volunteers in April to determine whether two doses will be safe and generate an immune response to protect against infection. Results will be available in July or August, Fauci told WSJ.

The big picture: The timing of the drug's development and expected clinical trial is extraordinary. "Going into a Phase One trial within three months of getting the sequence is unquestionably the world indoor record," Fauci said. "Nothing has ever gone that fast."

  • However, it's uncertain whether the drug will work, considering that the gene-based technology it uses hasn't yet resulted in an approved human vaccine, per WSJ.
  • A successful trial would also be followed by further studies and regulatory hurdles, Fauci said, meaning a coronavirus vaccine would not be ready for widespread distribution until at least next year.

Go deeper: Read Axios' full coverage of the coronavirus

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