coronavirus
coronavirus
(Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)

SEATTLE: Researchers gave the first shot to the first person in a test of an experimental coronavirus vaccine on Monday -- leading off a worldwide hunt for protection even as the pandemic surges.

With a careful jab in a healthy volunteer's arm, scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle begin an anxiously awaited first-stage study of a potential Covid-19 vaccine developed in record time after the new virus exploded from China and fanned across the globe.

"We're team coronavirus now," Kaiser Permanente study leader Dr. Lisa Jackson said on the eve of the experiment.

"Everyone wants to do what they can in this emergency."

The Associated Press observed as the study's first participant, an operations manager at a small tech company, received the injection inside an exam room.

Three others were next in line for a test that will ultimately give 45 volunteers two doses, a month apart.

"We all feel so helpless. This is an amazing opportunity for me to do something," Jennifer Haller, 43, of Seattle, said as she awaited the shot.

She's the mother of two teenagers and "they think it's cool" that she's taking part in the study. After the injection, she left the exam room with a big smile: "I'm feeling great."

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