First volunteer receives Italian anti-virus vaccine

ROME (AFP) – An Italian hospital said yesterday it had inoculated a first volunteer with an anti-COVID-19 vaccine as part of human trials expected to last six months.

The woman, in her 50s, received the first dose developed by Rome-based biotech company ReiThera at the capital’s Spallanzani Institute for infectious diseases.

The trials, developed between ReiThera and Spallanzani researchers, will be carried out on 90 volunteers divided into groups by age to test the efficacy of different dosages of the vaccine, developed since March.

If the first results of Phase 1 of the human trials prove positive, researchers said they will be able to proceed to phases 2 and 3 by the end of the year, on a larger number of volunteers even outside of Italy.

The vaccine has already passed pre-clinical tests on animal models.

“It will take at least 24 weeks to complete phase I human trials of the vaccine,” said the institute’s scientific director Giuseppe Ippolito.