Coronavirus vaccine trial is ready to administer its first dose in Seattle

Geekwire reports Seattle’s Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute plans to give an experimental dose of coronavirus vaccine to the first participant in a clinical trial on Monday, The Associated Press quotes a government official as saying.

Kaiser Permanente’s Phase 1 clinical trial is the first U.S. study focusing on a potential vaccine for the virus that so far has killed at least 69 Americans and more than 6,500 elsewhere in the world. The test makes use of Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine.

The call went out this month to recruit 45 healthy Seattle-area adults between 18 and 55 to participate in the study, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health. During this phase of the trial, researchers only want to determine whether the RNA-based vaccine is safe. There’s no risk of infection with the virus at this stage.

Full validation of the vaccine is expected to take a year to 18 months. In the meantime, other research groups around the world are working to develop vaccines. One of those groups, at CureVac in Germany, has become the subject of a controversy over access to its vaccine.

Per TheWeek, vaccines take between a year and 18 months to be fully validated, public health officials told the AP. But “the traditional vaccine timeline is 15 to 20 years. That would not be acceptable here,” Mark Feinberg, the president and CEO of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, recently told STAT. “When you hear predictions about it taking at best a year or a year and a half to have a vaccine available … there’s no way to come close to those timelines unless we take new approaches.”

According to projections by the CDC that were reported by The New York Times, between 160 million and 214 million people could be infected, some 2.4 million to 21 million people could be hospitalized, and as many as 200,000 to 1.7 million people could die by the time the virus runs its course.