Coronavirus vaccine tests open in the US

The first shot of an experimental coronavirus vaccine was administered on Monday by US researchers. 

Scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle begin an anxiously awaited first-stage study of a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed in record time, leading off a worldwide hunt for protection even as the pandemic surges.

“We’re team coronavirus now,” Kaiser Permanente study leader Dr Lisa Jackson said on the eve of the experiment. “Everyone wants to do what they can in this emergency.”

Even if the research goes well, a vaccine wouldn’t be available for widespread use for 12 to 18 months, said Dr Anthony Fauci of the US National Institutes of Health. That’s still important if the virus becomes a long-term threat.

The Associated Press observed as the study’s first participant, an operations manager at a small tech company, received the injection inside an exam room. Several others were next in line for a test that will ultimately give 45 volunteers two doses, a month apart.

“We all feel so helpless. This is an amazing opportunity for me to do something,” said Jennifer Haller, 43, of Seattle.

She’s the mother of two teenagers and “they think it’s cool” that she’s taking part in the study.

Monday’s milestone marked just the beginning of a series of studies in people needed to prove whether the shots are safe and could work.