The first COVID-19 vaccine tested in the United States has revived people’s immune systems just the way scientists had hoped and the shots are poised to begin key final testing.
According to the country’s top infectious expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, “No matter how you slice this, this is good news.” The experimental COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Fauci’s colleagues at the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., will start its most important step on July 27.
A 30,000-person study to prove if the shots really are strong enough to protect against virus. This is as the number of cases nationwide rose by 65,682 for a total of 3.45 million with at least 919 new deaths added to the tally of around 136,000.
On Tuesday, Researchers anxiously waited for findings from the first 45 volunteers who rolled up their sleeves back in March. Sure enough, the vaccine provided a hoped-for immune boost.
Those early volunteers developed what are called neutralizing antibodies in their bloodstream — molecules key to blocking infection at levels comparable to those found in people who survived COVID-19, the research team reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“This is an essential building block that is needed to move forward with the trials that could actually determine whether the vaccine does protect against infection,” said Dr. Lisa Jackson of the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle, who led the study.
There’s no guarantee but the government hopes to have results around the end of the year; record-setting speed for developing a vaccine.
The vaccine requires two doses, a month apart.
There were no serious side effects. But more than half the study participants reported flu-like reactions to the shots that aren’t uncommon with other vaccines — fatigue, headache, chills, fever and pain at the injection site. For three participants given the highest dose, those reactions were more severe; that dose isn’t being pursued.
Some of those reactions are similar to coronavirus symptoms but they’re temporary, lasting about a day and occur right after vaccination, researchers noted. “Small price to pay for protection against COVID,” said Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, a vaccine expert who wasn’t involved with the study.
He called the early results “a good first step,” and is optimistic that final testing could deliver answers about whether it’s really safe and effective by the beginning of next year.
So far, more than 13.29 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, 7.37 million have recovered, and more than 577,900 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The US, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Italy have recorded the most deaths. Click here for more update on COVID-19.
Great steps, What do you think?