The United States Army’s medical personnel have commenced testing a newly developed vaccine against novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Army held a Pentagon press briefing today to discuss their effort in developing a vaccine against the deadly COVID-19 virus that has infected 98,400 people in over 85 countries and has claimed 3,350 lives so far.
“The first phase of testing has already started: testing potential vaccines in mice to see what their response is and making sure it's safe,” Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, director of Emerging Infectious Diseases at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research said.
A research team from China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have also reported achieving a breakthrough in the vaccine development earlier this week. It includes development of an adenovirus vector vaccine for COVID-19 and a class 1 biological drug with full intellectual property rights, which can be used to treat not only COVID-19 patients, but also people who have been exposed to the virus as an emergency prevention measure.
Modjarrad said he didn't want to speculate when human testing would begin. But he said that the next phase would be testing in larger animals that are more similar to humans, including monkeys.
Army researchers are taking a "whole of government" approach with other agencies, including the National Institutes of Health; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; industry; and academia in the U.S. and abroad to detect, prevent and treat COVID-19, said Brig. Gen. Michael J. Talley, commander of Army Medical Research and Development Command and Fort Detrick in Maryland.
The work being done by Army researchers is a collaborative effort with those partners to ensure there's no duplication, added Dr. Nelson Michael, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.