Human trials of Italian coronavirus vaccine begin in Rome

Human trials of Italian coronavirus vaccine begin in Rome
The entrance of the Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases in Rome. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP
Today Italy's potential coronavirus vaccine begins its first human trial, after thousands of people applied to test the vaccine.

The trials will take place at the Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases in Rome.

Today at La Spallanzani the human trials of the Covid vaccine begin, funded by Region Lazio and The Ministry of Research. A beautiful achievement for Italian science and medicine. For us, the vaccine should be a common good.

“Today the first Italian, the first volunteer is undergoing vaccine testing. I am very satisfied and proud of this,” Francesco Vaia, the hospital's health director, told Rai News. “If all goes well and we finish this trial within the year, we could have the vaccine by next spring on a commercial basis. That's the prediction.”

Vaia said the key things to be determined during the human trials were whether the vaccine gives any side effects and whether it leads to production of antibodies in the test subjects.

The first volunteer, a 50-year-old man from Rome, said he was looking forward to the trial. He will be observed and after a few days, the vaccine will gradually be administered to more volunteers, up to 45 healthy people aged 18 to 55 in the first phase.

The made-in-Italy vaccine is one of several worldwide that are being developed in an effort to protect the world's population against the coronavirus. There are currently no approved vaccines that prevent infection by the virus, but several candidates are in different stages of development.

Italy has also signed an agreement with pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca to guarantee the supply of 300 million doses of a different experimental vaccine that the company is developing with Oxford University in the UK.

That vaccine is further along in development than Italy's, having been tested on animals and a small number of humans so far, and results from a much larger human trial are expected in several months. 


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