US tests first Coronavirus vaccine

A pharmacist gives Jennifer Haller, left, the first shot in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19, (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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The first human trial testing a potential vaccine to prevent COVID-19 began Monday, U.S. health officials confirmed.

Finding “a safe and effective vaccine” to prevent infection from the new coronavirus “is an urgent public health priority,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a statement Monday. “This Phase 1 study, launched in record speed, is an important first step toward achieving that goal.

It’s not the only potential vaccine in the pipeline. Dozens of research groups around the world are racing to create a vaccine against Covid-19. Another candidate, made by Inovio Pharmaceuticals, is expected to begin its own safety study — in the US, China, and South Korea — next month.

Most of the vaccine research underway globally targets a protein aptly named “spike” that studs the surface of the new coronavirus and lets it invade human cells. Block that protein and people won’t get infected.

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