The coronavirus infection, ever since declared as a pandemic of catastrophic proportions by the World Health Organization (WHO), affecting more than 200,000 people worldwide and claiming over 8000 lives, has been sending a wave of panic amongst healthcare professionals, global leaders as well as the common people alike. Also Read: Coronavirus: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Needless to say, the scientific community all over the world is working tirelessly, literally racing against time, to design an effective vaccine to combat the rapid spread of COVID-19.
One emerging life science company, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, in joint efforts with Beijing Advaccine Biotechnology Company, has successfully synthesized a potential vaccine and plan to commence with human trials in the US in April 2020, and soon after in China and South Korea.
Another promising molecule for coronavirus vaccine has been formulated by the Academy of military medical sciences in Wuhan, along with CanSino biologics, a Hong Kong-based pharmaceutical company. Clinical trials for this potential coronavirus vaccine are about to commence in China soon.
German biotech company, in collaboration with Fosun pharma, also plans to start clinical trials of their novel coronavirus vaccine molecule by the end of April. Scientists at Israel’s Institute for biological research, have unravelled the biological mechanism and traits of the coronavirus and are en route to formulating a promising vaccine, to combat the deadly COVID-19 pandemic as well. Also Read: COVID-19: Understanding The Difference Between An Outbreak, Epidemic And Pandemic
And quite recently, their hard work was recognised in the form of an official Phase 1 clinical trial studying an investigational vaccine, at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle, USA.
This trial involved 45 healthy adults in the age group of 18 – 55 years. They will be closely monitored for a period of 6 weeks, post injecting the vaccine into their systems.
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Read on, to gain a better understanding of the details of the experimental coronavirus vaccine – mRNA-1273.
What Is mRNA-1273?
The first pilot version of the coronavirus vaccine, termed as mRNA-1273, was developed by the National Institute Of Allergies And Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of health in the USA, in collaboration with Moderna Inc, a biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
What Does The Vaccine Contain?
The coronavirus vaccine does not actually contain any portion of the viral genome, but in fact, includes a segment of mRNA (messenger RNA), which will instruct the cells in the body to express a virus protein similar to coronavirus, thus enabling a powerful immune response by the body’s innate defence system.
How Does The Vaccine Work?
Participants will be injected two doses of the vaccine, 28 days apart, via intramuscular means, in their upper arm. Once the genetic mRNA coronavirus replica sequence enters the bloodstream, it is expected to activate the person’s inherent immune system to produce antibodies to counter the foreign substance, so as to efficiently combat the body from the same infectious agent when attacked again.
What Will Be The Dosage Of Injection?
Depending upon the individual’s age and physical fitness, varying doses of 25 micrograms, 100 micrograms or 250 micrograms will be injected, to determine at which dosage the effect of the preventive vaccine is best expressed, without any harmful side effects.
How Will The Participants Of The Vaccine Trial Be Monitored?
Once the participants of this clinical trial for the coronavirus vaccine have been injected, they will be closely monitored for a period of one year. Regular physician visits to check for any signs of muscle soreness, fevers or wounds at the site of injection will be conducted, as well as normal physical parameters of the person monitored, to ensure they don’t face any other medical issues.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
World Health Organization (WHO)