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the coronavirus crisis

Clinical trial of experimental coronavirus vaccine expected to start in April

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is expected to soon launch a clinical trial of an experimental coronavirus vaccine.

The vaccine was developed by the drugmaker Moderna, and researchers hope to begin testing it on humans in late April. The first trial will involve 20 to 25 healthy volunteers, with results expected by July or August. If that round is successful, a second trial will include hundreds or thousands of subjects. The vaccine was created after the coronavirus' genetic sequence was determined in January.

"Going into a Phase One trial within three months of getting the sequence is unquestionably the world indoor record," NIAID Director Anthony Fauci told The Wall Street Journal on Monday. "Nothing has ever gone that fast."

Gene-based technology has yet to result in an approved vaccine for humans, the Journal reports. If this vaccine does work, it will still have to go through regulatory measures, and likely won't be widely available until 2021. Fauci said the virus might not spread as quickly in the summer due to the heat, but could roar back in the winter. More than 2,600 people have died in this coronavirus outbreak, and there are more than 79,000 confirmed cases worldwide, with most in China.