The clinical trial for a novel coronavirus vaccine at a Seattle research facility has been approved, and people are being recruited to register as test subjects.
Researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute were cleared on Monday to begin a clinical trial and have begun recruiting potential trial volunteers.
Researchers are looking for 45 people between the ages of 18 and 55. The trial will begin once the first volunteers pass a screening and physical examination, said Dr. Lisa Jackson, a senior investigator at the institute.
The vaccine for the virus known as SARS-CoV-2, and the subsequent disease called COVID-19, was developed by Massachusetts-based biotechnology company Moderna, which is one of many companies working to create a vaccine.
The trial subjects will receive two doses 28 days apart and return to the research institute for follow-up visits, with the last visit being a year after the first vaccination, Jackson said.
The trials are only the beginning of the process to get a vaccine ready for the public. The initial trial will be followed by at least two more that will include more people and possibly examine the vaccine’s impact on people younger than 18 and older than 55, Jackson said.
Kaiser’s Seattle research institute was chosen as a trial site because it is one of nine Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units (VTEU) designated by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Kaiser institute has been a VTEU since 2007.
Other local efforts to develop a vaccine are also ongoing: HDT Bio Corp. is working on a vaccine with PAI Life Sciences, InBios International, Inc. and the University of Washington School of Medicine. HDT and its partners started working on a vaccine once the virus’ genome sequence was shared by Chinese scientists last month. Animal trials have taken place, and the vaccine could be ready for human clinical trials in the next couple of months, said Steven Reed, HDT’s CEO.