America’s First COVID-19 Vaccine Goes Into Final Testing

We are all waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine to hit the market so that we can go back to our normal lives. Once the vaccine is released and widely administered, we won’t be having states constantly reopening and closing. We will no longer have to quarantine after leaving the state. Schools, offices and stores will reopen. We’ll most likely still have extra precautions, but we’ll be able to do more and interact with more people.

It’s welcome news to hear that the first COVID-19 vaccine tested in the U.S. has helped people’s immune systems and is being tolerated well. The first shots of the vaccine in the study were injected in March. The researchers were hopeful then.

We’re team coronavirus now,” Kaiser Permanente study leader Dr. Lisa Jackson said the day before the experiment began. “Everyone wants to do what they can in this emergency.”

Now, almost exactly four months later, they are seeing great results. “The world urgently needs vaccines to protect against COVID-19,” Dr. Jackson said. “We are glad to be able to contribute to these efforts by initiating the first clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine, which was developed, produced and put into a first-in-human clinical trial in record time.” 

It’s incredible to see how far they have come this quickly. At the end of this month, the team will take the final step in the test. They are injecting 30,000 participants to learn if the shot can protect people against the virus. In the first phase, 45 people had received the vaccine. They developed as many antibodies that block infection as people who have recovered from COVID-19. We don’t know if people who have had the virus are immune to catching it a second time, but the antibodies are an excellent sign.

The vaccine requires two doses, one month apart. People who had adverse reactions to the vaccine had flu-like symptoms for about a day. That’s not uncommon, and many other vaccines cause the same reaction.

Small price to pay for protection against COVID,” said Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt Univ. Medical Center. However, he said that — even if the vaccine is ready by the end of this year — we won’t know how effective it is in the real world until early next year. And, “that assumes everything’s working right on schedule.”

While this is the most promising and advanced vaccine study in America, many are going on about the world. If everyone makes as much progress and shares their results, we could see results more quickly. Other vaccines are also being tested by larger companies, they aren’t as far along. Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer are launching their own massive studies with possible vaccines.

So frequently, we think of things in terms of competition. But, during a pandemic, people worldwide are working hard to protect the rest of us. It’s not “a race for one winner. Me, I’m cheering every one of them on,” said Fauci, who directs NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. We are too!
July 16, 2020
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