First patient will get an experimental coronavirus vaccine TODAY

  • The first participant will receive an experimental dose of the vaccine today
  • The initial round of phase one testing will include 45 young, healthy volunteers
  • The shots are co-developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc.
  • It will take a year to 18 months to evaluate any vaccine, leading experts warned 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Humans will begin trials of an experimental coronavirus vaccine today, a senior US official has revealed.

Forty-five participants in Seattle – which is currently being ravaged by an outbreak – will receive the jab to test it is safe.

None of the volunteers, who are aged between 18 and 55, will be infected at this point. Further trials are planned if the vaccine is safe.

Dozens of pharmaceutical firms and universities across the world are in a race against time to create a COVID-19 vaccine.

Coronavirus antiviral

First patient will get an experimental coronavirus vaccine TODAY – but scientists warn it will be at least a YEAR before the jab could be rolled out to the rest of the world ​

Leading officials have already warned a jab to protect millions could be a year away, meaning thousands will die in the meantime.

More than 170,000 cases have already been confirmed worldwide, and at least 6,500 patients are known to have died.

Dozens of research groups across the world, including Massachusetts-based Moderna, have taken a different route to traditional vaccine techniques

The World Health Organization says 35 experimental vaccines are in development, including one co-developed by the US government.

The National Institutes of Health is funding the trial of the jab, which was created alongside Massachusetts-based Moderna.

The first participant in the phase one trial – the earliest stage of human drug research – will receive the vaccine today, an official revealed.

None of the patients will be infected with the coronavirus at this stage.

All of the patients will receive the experimental jab at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle.

The source who disclosed plans for the first participant spoke on condition of anonymity because the move has not been publicly announced, and public health officials say it will still take a year to 18 months to fully validate any potential vaccine – despite human trials beginning.

There is no chance participants could get infected from the shots, because they don’t contain the virus itself. The goal is purely to check that the vaccines show no worrisome side effects, setting the stage for larger tests.

Dozens of research groups across the world, including Moderna, have taken a different route to traditional vaccine techniques. Normally a weaker bug is planted in the body so a patient can adapt to fight off the infection – like the MMR vaccine. But Moderna’s sees messenger RNA stimulate the immune system to make similar proteins to the killer virus, which it can then combat.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals aims to begin safety tests of its vaccine candidate next month in a few dozen volunteers. Volunteers will be recruited in Pennsylvania and Kansas City, before tests are repeated in China and South Korea.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it will take up to a year-and-a-half before humans can get a vaccine. President Donald Trump has been pushing for swift action on a vaccine, saying in recent days that the work is ‘moving along very quickly’, and the UK Government has already pumped up to £50million into projects to rush through a vaccine and save millions.

Today, there are no proven treatments. In China, scientists have been testing a combination of HIV drugs against the new coronavirus.

Other doctors have used an experimental drug named remdesivir that was in development to fight Ebola.

In the US, the University of Nebraska Medical Center also began testing remdesivir in some Americans evacuated from a cruise ship in Japan.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

It comes as German officials are trying to stop the Donald Trump administration from luring German biopharmeceutical company CureVac to the US to get its experimental coronavirus vaccines exclusively for Americans. The President has allegedly offered funds to lure the company CureVac to the US, according to reports in a German newspaper. 

The German government made counter-offers to make the company stay, the Welt am Sonntag reports. An unidentified German government source told the paper Trump is trying to secure the scientists’ work exclusively, and would do anything to get a vaccine for the United States – but only for the United States’.

CureVac said last week they are working on with a multitude of coronavirus vaccine candidates and are selecting the two best to go into clinical trials. The company’s CEO met with President Donald Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force to discuss a vaccine earlier this month. German politicians are now insisting that no country should have a monopoly on any future vaccine. 

So, have they found a cure for the Coronavirus?

Drugs used to treat HIV and malaria could be used to tackle the coronavirus, according to scientists in Australia. 

A team of infectious disease experts at the University of Queensland in Brisbane say they have seen two existing medications manage to wipe out COVID-19 infections.

Chloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, and HIV-suppressing combination lopinavir/ritonavir have both reportedly shown promising results in human tests and made the virus ‘disappear’ in infected patients.

The drugs are being tested as researchers and doctors around the world scramble to try and find a vaccine, cure or treatment for the deadly virus.

Around 170,000 people across the globe have now been infected with the coronavirus and over 6,500 have died. After China managed to get a handle on its sudden outbreak other countries were blindsided by huge epidemics – almost 25,000 people have caught it in Italy, around 14,000 in Iran, 8,000 in Spain and more than 5,000 apiece in Germany and France.

Queensland researcher, Professor David Paterson, said he hopes to enrol people in larger scale pharmaceutical trials by the end of the month.

Could an experimental Ebola drug work?

Remdesivir, developed by California-based Gilead, has previously protected animals against a variety of viruses in lab experiments. 

The experimental drug has effectively treated monkeys infected with Ebola and Nipah viruses, says the US National Institutes of Health. At least two trials of the drug, originally developed as an Ebola treatment, are known to be underway for SARS-CoV-2 in China. 

Remdesivir works by blocking a protein that helps coronaviruses make copies of themselves and, in turn, infect patients. Scientists in China earlier this month filed a patent for remdesivir in hope that it will help treat coronavirus patients. 

More recently, remdesivir was found to help relieve symptoms in the first American coronavirus patient while he was hospitalized. It was given intravenously to a man in Washington, the very first person diagnosed with coronavirus in the US, for compassionate use.  One day after he took the drug, he didn’t need supplemental oxygen anymore and his appetite improved. Four days later, his fever broke.

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