First coronavirus vaccine trial in the US is now enrolling healthy volunteers for paid clinical trial
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has claimed over 3,300 lives and infected more than 81,000 people. As everyone grapples with the virus, scientists and researchers are working around the clock to develop novel therapies and vaccines to cure the disease with the hope of stemming the spread of the deadly virus.
Now, there is a good news. A team of scientists from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha has develop a drug to treat the virus and now ready to conduct a clinical trial. University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha is not alone in developing drug to cure the novel coronavirus. Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute announced today it has received a green light from the government to begin its vaccine trials, the first of its kind. Its research team is enrolling 45 healthy people, ages 18 to 55, from the Seattle-area over the course of 14 months.
“[The trial] does not include any form of the live virus, and the trial will not expose participants to the virus,” said Rebecca Hughes, senior media consultant with Kaiser Permanente. The trial is part one of three-phases that will study the safety of the vaccine and how well the immune system responds to it.
The vaccine uses a short segment of mRNA, a genetic code that can help trigger an immune response and fight infection. For example, if a person becomes infected with coronavirus, the immune response the vaccine generated when it was first injected can help fight the invading virus. The vaccine mRNA breaks down naturally and does not remain in the body.
Participants are asked to come to 11 in-person study visits and four phone visits over a 14-month period, including one initial screening visit, two vaccination visits, and eight follow-ups.
Patients will receive two injections of the vaccine in the upper arm with doses given 28 days apart. Different doses will be distributed to 15 people in each group:
- Group 1 will receive a dose of 25 micrograms (mcg).
- Group 2 will receive a dose of 100 mcg.
- Group 3 will receive a dose of 250 mcg.
No matter which group you are in, you will receive the same dose for the first and second vaccinations. Phase one of the trial will also not test the effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing coronavirus infection. That will come in a later phase.
The vaccine is the first to be tested in humans and is similar to the mRNA vaccines developed for the Zika virus.
Participants will receive $100 for each of the in-person study visits. People who complete every visit will get $1,100.
As for University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha’s trial, Dr. Andre Kalil, an infectious disease specialist and professor of internal medicine, will oversee the drug trial on its first patient, who was repatriated after being quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan. The study is currently enrolling hospitalized adults with COVID-19 in Nebraska.