Feb 24, 2020 - Health

Experimental coronavirus vaccine to be tested on humans

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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U.S. volunteer receives first shot of experimental coronavirus vaccine

Moderna has developed the first experimental coronavirus vaccine, but an approved treatment is more than a year away. Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A healthy U.S. volunteer received the first dose of an experimental coronavirus vaccine, a potential defense against the virus if it becomes a long-term threat.

Where it stands: The trial will ultimately give 45 volunteers two doses about 28 days apart in order to test the vaccine's effectiveness in protecting the subjects against COVID-19. If successful, several more trials with larger subject groups will be needed to prove whether there are common side effects.

Go deeperArrowMar 16, 2020 - Health

We're still in the early days of coronavirus vaccine research

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Moderna has moved incredibly quickly to begin testing a potential vaccine for the new coronavirus in U.S. patients. The biotech company went from taking the genetic sequence of the new coronavirus to manufacturing its first batch of vials in less than a month.

Reality check: Best-case scenario, a vaccine could be ready for production by next year — but that's assuming the drug proves to be both safe and effective, which is completely unknown right now.

Go deeperArrowMar 18, 2020 - Health

Podcast: The race for a coronavirus vaccine

On Monday, a woman in Seattle became America’s first human subject of a novel coronavirus vaccine trial. Dan and Axios' Bob Herman dig into the vaccine development process and why a young biotech company is leading the pack.

Go deeper: Inside vaccine-maker Moderna Therapeutics