US pharmaceuticals to run clinical trials for coronavirus vaccine in April

Washington, Mar 12 (EFE).- The United States pharmaceutical industry is in a race against the clock to find a vaccine and treatment to tackle the novel coronavirus.

The entire process will take more than a year but the prospect of a cure has already sent stocks rocketing as investors eagerly snap up shares.

“The testing has already begun. Many different companies have ideas of how they can make a vaccine against coronavirus,” said Bruce Gellin of the Sabin Vaccine Institute in Washington.

“What’s important here is to try as many different ways as possible. Because we know that not all good ideas will continue and work out.

“As I’ve said to others, just because your horses leave the gate not all of them will finish the race,” the expert continued.

In his opinion, the more companies investing in research, the better.

Research into Covid-19 has begun in record time thanks in part to the efficient sharing of information.

Chinese scientists made the genetic sequence of the virus available in January, which was first detected in late December in the Wuhan region.

The novel disease was declared a pandemic by the World Organization for Health on Wednesday.

Thanks to the speed with which Chinese researchers reacted, US pharmacists have announced they will begin the first human clinical trials for a vaccine in April.

The time frame contrasts hugely with past experiences.

With the Acute and Severe Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which left 744 dead in China between November 2002 and July 2003, it took a year and eight months to test a vaccine.

At present over 10 large pharmaceuticals around the world are working to become the first to obtain a vaccine for Covid-19.

“Because of what we have seen about this disease, that this virus is very transmissible and in many people it’s a very serious disease, it’s clear now that there is going to be a great demand for a vaccine,” Gellin said.

Among the companies in the race are Americans Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Regeneron, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Novarax and Gilead Sciences.

Modern, based in Massachusetts, is leading the way and became the first to manufacture an experimental vaccine in February.

It is now being tested by researchers from the US government.

Clinical trials will begin in April, working with up to 25 healthy volunteers.

Volunteers will be administered two doses of the vaccine to see if it induces an immune response capable of protecting humans against infection.

Novarax, in Maryland, is doing tests with animals, and tests on humans are expected to start in May.

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