NIH Adds Atlanta Site to Clinical Trial of COVID-19 Vaccine

March 27, 2020 Updated: March 27, 2020

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) said a medical facility in Georgia would be added to the agency’s clinical trial of a vaccine for COVID-19, the disease the CCP virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, causes.

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China before it was transmitted worldwide.

The institute said in a statement that Emory University in Atlanta has started vaccinating healthy adult volunteers aged 18 to 55 years “in a Phase 1 clinical trial of an investigational vaccine designed to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).”

Epoch Times Photo
An engineering student works to separate proteins for vaccine production in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on March 24, 2020. (Pedro Vilela/Getty Images)

The clinical trial was launched last week at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle.

The trial aims to enroll a total of 45 participants across the two sites—KPWHRI and Emory—which are part of NIAID’s Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium. The trial is supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of NIH.

“NIAID scientists and clinicians have been closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 in Washington and throughout the United States. They decided to expand the trial to another geographic area to ensure efficient enrollment,” the statement said.

Epoch Times Photo
A researcher works on virus replication in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on March 26, 2020. (Douglas Magno/AFP/Getty Images)

As part of the trial, participants will get two shots of the experimental vaccine about one month apart and will be followed for approximately one year.

The first participant received the vaccine on March 16.

“Finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2 is an urgent public health priority,” said NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci. “This Phase 1 study, launched in record speed, is an important first step toward achieving that goal.”

The investigational vaccine is called mRNA-1273. It was developed using a genetic platform called mRNA (messenger RNA). The vaccine directs the body’s cells to express a virus protein that researchers hope will elicit “a robust immune response.”

While the mRNA-1273 vaccine has shown promise in animal models, this is the first human trial.

“This work is critical to national efforts to respond to the threat of this emerging virus,” said Dr. Lisa A. Jackson, senior investigator at KPWHRI, and Phase 1 trial lead. “We are prepared to conduct this important trial because of our experience as an NIH clinical trials center since 2007.”

Epoch Times Photo
This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (round magenta objects), which the Epoch Times refers to as the CCP virus, emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. (NIAID-RML)

Participants will be asked to provide blood samples at regular intervals. Investigators will then test the samples to detect and measure the immune response to the experimental vaccine.

Currently, no approved vaccines exist to prevent infection with the virus.

According to reports, there are 44 investigational vaccines currently being examined for potential use against the virus. Two of these are in clinical trials.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) believes one of the eight projects it is backing can create a vaccine “within the next 12 to 18 months.”

“We face one of the greatest challenges humankind kind has faced in the last century: a disease that has spread globally, that is most dangerous to the most vulnerable members of our society, and that threatens our economic order and very way of life,” said Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI.

For most people, COVID-19 causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with pre-existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, typically between people who are in close contact with one another and via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

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