Lunar-Cov19 Vaccine To Begin Human Clinical Trials Before Aug

Good news for Singaporeans and the world as a vaccine will begin clinical trials here even before its projected start in Aug.

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) gave the green light to Duke-NUS Medical School and American pharmaceutical company Arcturus Therapeutics to start human trials on their vaccine, Lunar-Cov19 on Tuesday (21 Jul).

Previously, researchers had already recreated and cultured the virus.

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A host of clinical trials have begun on various vaccines as the world races to find a solution to the virus, which has left over 14 million infected and over 610,000 dead worldwide.

Lunar-Cov19 trials to feature 108 volunteers

The vaccine works by injecting virus genetic material, called mRNA, helping the body to learn it and thus develop resistance towards Covid-19.

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108 volunteers of varying ages will participate in the 1st study of to test dose levels — Singapore was seen as an ideal place to conduct trials due to our multi-ethnic population.

A further study will test the safety of Lunar-Cov19 and whether human bodies can tolerate it.

According to a joint statement by Duke-NUS and Arcturus Therapeutics, the studies so far have been very promising — maybe 1 single dose may produce enough to defend against the coronavirus.

They share an excitement to begin clinical trials as soon as possible, which were initially scheduled for Aug.

Vaccines may not be available commercially until 2021

Although the development of Lunar-Cov19 is progressing steadily, it may still be months before a working vaccine is finally ready for commercial use.

There are at least 2 stages of study and they may take months each before concluding.

We’re also not certain that any vaccine will eliminate Covid-19.

However, exciting times lie ahead after months of lockdown. There is hope still of beating Covid-19, both with vigilance and the work of researchers.

Featured image adapted from Duke-NUS.