A vaccine for Covid-19 is ready for the first tests

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According to CNN: US biotechnology firm Moderna sent an experimental vaccine for Covid-19 to US government researchers, just six weeks after starting immunization.

Initial testing for the potential vaccine could begin in April, but the testing process and approvals could take at least a year.

Moderna announced Monday that the first set of the new vaccine, called mRNA-1273, has been sent to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Shares of the Boston-based company rose 15 percent Tuesday on the New York stock market.

Moderna announced that the first vials of the experimental vaccine will be used in a Phase 1 study in the United States, a phase that usually involves testing a vaccine on a small number of healthy people.

NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said a clinical trial could begin in late April, which is the first step in producing a vaccine available for use.

The Wall Street Journal, which first wrote about this vaccine, reported that two doses of the vaccine will be tested on up to 25 volunteers to see if it produces an immunization reaction that protects against this virus.

Even if the clinical trial is successful, new tests and approvals will be required from the health regulatory authority before the vaccine can be widely used.

Health officials and pharmaceutical companies around the world are working fast to identify treatments or a vaccine to help fight the virus that has infected more than 80,000 people worldwide.

Fauci previously told CNN that the researchers could accelerate the vaccine approval process, following the success of the Phase 1 trial, to try to stop the virus from spreading.

But even if researchers are to work quickly, urgently, the vaccine will not be available for use in the next 18 months, Fauci said Tuesday.

Modern is not the only drugmaker hoping to find a virus immunization.

Pharmaceutical giants Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline are working on vaccines, as do US government researchers, including some NIAIDs.

While the experimental vaccine developed by Moderna does not yet have the proven efficacy, the speed with which it was created represents progress.

According to Moderna, the vaccine was developed in 42 days, since the company obtained genetic information about the coronavirus.

By comparison, the researchers took about 20 months to begin testing on humans for the older SARS vaccine, according to an article written by Fauci.

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