According to recent reports, the first human trial of a vaccine to protect against pandemic coronavirus is starting in the US on March 16.
Forty five healthy volunteers will have the jab, at the Kaiser Permanente research facility, in Seattle.
According to experts, the vaccine cannot cause Covid-19 but contains a harmless genetic code copied from the virus that causes the disease.
It will still take many months to know if this vaccine, or others also in research, will work, experts say.
Scientists around the world are fast-tracking research.
This first human trial, funded by the National Institutes of Health, sidesteps a check that would normally be conducted – making sure the vaccine can trigger an immune response in animals.
However, the biotechnology company behind the work, Moderna Therapeutics, says the vaccine has been made using a tried and tested process.
Typical vaccines for viruses, such as measles, are made from a weakened or killed virus.
In this case, the mRNA-1273 vaccine is not made from the virus that causes Covid-19.
Instead, the vaccine includes a short segment of genetic code copied from the virus that scientists have been able to make in a laboratory.
This will hopefully prime the body’s own immune system to fight off the real infection.
The volunteers will be given different doses of the experimental vaccine.
They will each be given two jabs in total, 28 days apart, into the upper arm muscle.
Even if these initial safety tests go well, it could still take up to 18 months for any potential vaccine to become available for the public.