Coronavirus vaccine ready for clinical trials in Seattle

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SEATTLE — Researchers are recruiting participants for clinical trials on a vaccine that’s being developed for the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The study, which is run out of the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, seeks healthy adults between 18 and 55 years old. The participants can’t have certain health conditions, such as medical conditions that impact the immune system or be taking medications that affect the immune system.

Participants must come to 11 in-person study visits in downtown Seattle and have four phone conversations over 14 months. Over the course of the visits, participants will be injected with the vaccine twice.

Forty-five trial participants will be divided into three groups, each of which will receive different doses of the vaccine.

The goal of the first phase of the study is to learn about the vaccine’s safety and see how the immune system responds to it.

This vaccine, which is produced by ModernaTx, Inc., is not made from a weakened or killed version of coronavirus, and cannot cause infection, according to researchers. Instead it’s made using a short segment of genetic code, which tells cells to make a protein found on the outside of the 2019 novel coronavirus. When cells create that protein, it triggers an immune response.

If someone is later infected with coronavirus, their immune system will theoretically kick in on overdrive, better helping fight the virus.

Researchers said this vaccine is similar to vaccines developed for Zika virus and human metapneumovirus.

COVID-19 has killed 13 people and infected at least 70 people total in Washington state, according to EvergreenHealth Medical Center and the Washington State Department of Health. Globally, there are at least 95,000 cases and 3,200 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

If you are interested in participating in the study, fill out a survey.