Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) is a healthcare, biotechnology, and medical-based company that looks to shape the future of healthcare. The company was founded by Henry Kaiser and Sidney Garfield in 1945, in Oakland, California, United States.
Kaiser Permanente was founded for the primary purpose of helping people live healthy lives. The company utilizes an electronic health record system in order to maintain patient scheduling, health information, as well as medications. The company assists with things such as birth control, the flu, life care planning, mental health, wellness, and various other areas of health.
KPWHRI has a vaccine research team with expertise in conducting trials for H1N1 and influenza A. In 2007, KPWHRI became a as Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units (VTEU) site, one of 9 VTEU centers in the USA.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus), Kaiser Permanente has been monitoring the respiratory illnesses caused by the virus. The company believes they are able to help see and treat patients who have been infected with the virus, and do so with limited risk to others. Their staff has been prepared and trained for emergency scenarios including detection and treatment of infectious diseases.
On March 16, 2020, Kaiser's team began testing an investigational vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 which became the first vaccine for the 2019 novel coronavirus to be injected into a volunteer in a clinical trial. The trial was selected by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for conducting the clinical trial led by researcher is Lisa Jackson, MD MPH, senior investigator at Kaiser. The vaccine called mRNA-1273 was developed by Moderna and NAID researchers including Barney Graham and colleagues at the Vaccine Research Center at NIH. The vaccine includes a short segment of lab made messenger RNA. The mRNA has the genetic code for the spike protein, the part of the virus that is important for gaining entry into cells. The cells of a person injected with the mRNA will make the virus protein. It is hoped that the viral protein will stimulate the immune system to attack SARS-CoV-2. The Phase I trial with 45 participants will test safety of various doses and whether it invokes an immune response. Funding for vaccine production was provided by Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).
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March 13, 2020
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