A Saudi researcher working with an international team of scientists to develop a vaccine for the deadly coronavirus has become a local celebrity back in the kingdom, offering advice on how to cope with the outbreak on social media and television.
Nahla Ishaque, who works for US-based Moderna Pharmaceuticals, has engaged with followers on Twitter, updating them on the progress of the development of the vaccine as well as giving general health advice.
“The first batch of vaccine has been sent out to the National Institutes of Health for clinical trials,” Ishaque said on Thursday.
“I am proud to be among the elite team of scholars and researchers working to discover a cure for this epidemic.”
Ishaque also spoke to local media, revealing that the vaccine will be tested on volunteers next month.
“We have 45 volunteers preparing for clinical trial, which will begin in April,” she told local Rotana TV, adding that if the trials are successful, the vaccine could be ready for the public by September.
More than 20 vaccine prototypes are in development globally and several treatments are in clinical trials with results expected within weeks.
Last month, WHO said the first vaccine developed by Moderna Therapeutics in conjunction with the US National Institutes of Health was likely to go into the human trial phase in April.
The virus has killed more than 4,000 people and infected over 118,002 since it was first detected on December 31.