Potential coronavirus vaccine enters human testing trial as it progresses at ‘unprecedented speed’ – The Sun

A POSSIBLE coronavirus vaccine has entered the human testing trial and it is progressing at "unprecedented speed," researchers say.

Philadelphia pharmaceutical company Inovio Pharmaceuticals, the University of Pennsylvania’s research facility, the Wistar Institute began working on it as early as January, reports say.

Three months ago, the vaccine process was sped up after the Chinese government made the genome sequencing of COVID-19 public, according to Fox News.

Now, the vaccine's vital first phase of testing is in the workds as Inovio researchers say they designed it in three hours after getting a sequence for the coronavirus.

Last week, they rolled out the trials on 40 people in Kansas City and the University of Pennsylvania, with results expected in the summer.

Dr. Kate Broderick, senior vice president, R&D at Inovio Pharmaceuticals, told Fox "we immediately started testing the vaccine in the laboratory."

"We’re quite confident about the results that we’ve seen,” she said. “We treated three people last week. But getting our vaccine into human beings is a huge step.

"But we did that in 83 days, which certainly in my career is absolutely an unprecedented level of speed.”

Despite the lightning speed, Broderick acknowledged there were a number of variables at play in its development.

She said: “In some patients, it looks like people who had the disease but now recovered have kind of these sort of low antibody levels, but we don’t know if that’s a consistent result across everybody that’s contracted the virus so far.

"So, we need to learn more about how the virus affects people and how people are affected by that infection before we can see too much about how that impacts vaccine design.”

“What we don’t know is that they contract the virus for a second time, which obviously would be very unlucky, but possible.

"Or is it just that they haven’t fully recovered the first time around? So that’s really what we’re learning as we speak and as we move forward."

This is where the difficulty lies, Broderick said, when "there’s still so much we don’t understand about it.”

Dr. David Weiner, of the Wistar Institute, and one of the lead researchers working on the coronavirus vaccine, told Fox News the first phase would involve testing on normal healthy people who have not contracted the virus.

“The first study is really just safety and tolerability in relatively low-risk people just to make sure the vaccine by itself, how well it’s tolerated by people," Weiner said.

"You’re watching that very closely, so you can figure how many people you can give it to and whether there’s going to be issues.

“Phase two is really where you start to test out larger numbers and efficacy. And Inovio has already produced enough dosing for that several thousand doses in there because that process is so robust to get through that study as well. So, that’s clearly on their radar.”

Inovio got a $9 million grant from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to hurry up the process.

Researchers often have to start from scratch when there’s a new outbreak.

But the pharma company and Weiner’s team used proprietary tech from previous vaccine developments, which utilizes digital mapping of DNA sequences.

Inovio got a Zika virus on the market in just seven months back in 2016.

Source: Read Full Article