Source: CDC

As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) sweeps the globe, causing a public health and economic crisis, the race is on for a viable vaccine for the illness. Clinical trials on a vaccine got underway in the United States yesterday. Among the first volunteers for the trial is a Microsoft employee and has discussed the experience.

Neal Browning, a 46-year-old Microsoft network engineer from Bothell, Washington joined a group of four healthy volunteers for the study. During the trial they will test the RNA COVID-19 vaccine that has been developed by NIH and biotech company Moderna Inc.

Browning says he is just doing his part to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

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“Every parent wants their children to look up to them,” but “it’s other people, too. It’s not just Dad out there.”

Tests are being conducted by Kaiser Permanente Washing Research Institute in Seattle. Washington, including areas close to Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters has been the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States.

Quick Work

Massachusetts-based Moderna has had to work quickly and has developed a vaccine just 65 days after the virus was sequenced in China. If the vaccine is viable, it would be unprecedented speed but trials will determine its effectiveness.

“We’re team coronavirus now,” Kaiser Permanente study leader Dr. Lisa Jackson said before the trial got underway. “Everyone wants to do what they can in this emergency.”

If this initial testing phase is a success, the team will move to giving 45 volunteers two doses at a month interval. While the vaccine was developed rapidly, the team still says it could still take between 12 and 18 months before it is fully tested and ready to roll out.

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