Italy begins human trials of covid-19 vaccine in Rome

Rome doctors hope to produce 'Made in Italy' coronavirus vaccine by next spring.

Human trials of an Italian-developed covid-19 vaccine have begun on volunteers at Rome's Spallanzani hospital on 24 August, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

The first person to volunteer for the vaccine, a 50-year-old woman, was inoculated at 08.30 this morning at the Spallanzani, a specialist centre for infectious diseases which has played a central role in battling Italy's coronavirus crisis.

The woman said she was "excited and proud" to be the first volunteer to take the vaccine and hopes that it will help to "save lives," ANSA reports.

After being observed by doctors for four hours, the woman will return home and be monitored for the next 12 weeks, said hospital director Francesco Vaia, who stated that if the trials go well a vaccine could be ready on a commerical basis by next spring.

Earlier this month, when the Spallanzani put out the call for 90 volunteers to come forward to take the vaccine, more than 3,000 people volunteered, in what Vaia said demonstrated the "great heart of the Italian people."

The vaccine has been produced by Italian biotechnology firm ReiThera of Castel Romano, near Rome, with funding from the Lazio Region whose president Nicola Zingaretti said: "Today, an historic phase in research begins."

The news comes the day after Italy registered 1,210 new coronavirus cases, up from 1,071 the day before.

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Italy begins human trials of covid-19 vaccine in Rome

Via Portuense, 292, 00149 Roma RM, Italy