Inside the U.S., the first clinical trial for a vaccine to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 began today. It is mRNA-1273, developed by Moderna with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID). The product was shipped to NIAID on February 25.
mRNA-1273 is a mRNA vaccine that encodes for a prefusion stabilized form of the Spike (S) protein. It was chosen by Moderna researchers in collaboration with scientists at the NIAID Vaccine Research Center (VRC). Funding for the manufacture of the batch came from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
The trial is being conducted at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. The first patient was dosed today. The trial will include 45 young, healthy volunteers who will receive different doses of the vaccine. Because the vaccine does not contain the actual virus, there is no possibility the participants will become infected from the vaccine. The goal of the test is to evaluate any safety issues and determine the appropriate dose to stimulate an effective immune response.