Humans will begin trials of an experimental coronavirus vaccine today, a senior US official has revealed.
Forty-five participants in Seattle – which is currently being ravaged by an outbreak – will receive the jab to test it is safe.
None of the volunteers, who are aged between 18 and 55, will be infected at this point. Further trials are planned if the vaccine is safe.
Dozens of pharmaceutical firms and universities across the world are in a race against time to create a COVID-19 vaccine. Leading officials have already warned a jab to protect millions could be a year away, meaning thousands will die in the meantime.
More than 170,000 cases have already been confirmed worldwide, and at least 6,500 patients are known to have died.
The World Health Organization says 35 experimental vaccines are in development, including one co-developed by the US government.
The National Institutes of Health is funding the trial of the jab, which was created alongside Massachusetts-based Moderna.
The first participant in the phase one trial – the earliest stage of human drug research – will receive the vaccine today, an official revealed.
None of the patients will be infected with the coronavirus at this stage.