Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top epidemiology expert, had glowing words on Tuesday for an experimental vaccine now undergoing trials by Fauci’s coworkers at the National Institutes of Health.
That body, along with the firm Moderna, Inc., administered shots of the newly-developed vaccine to a total of 45 participants in a study which began in March. The findings from that experiment were so positive that they were shared yesterday by the group of researchers responsible for the study.
“No matter how you slice it, this is good news,” the physician stated ebulliently in an interview with the Associated Press.
At least partially fulfilling the researchers’ hopes, the experimental vaccine was found to have indeed provided a large boost of immunity against Covid-19. After receiving the shots, the March study subjects developed “neutralizing antibodies” in their bloodstreams at levels similar to those in individuals who had suffered from Covid-19 and survived.
Dr. Lisa Jackson of the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle, who led the study, told the Associated Press “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.”
Beginning on July 27, the experimental vaccine will undergo its most rigorous testing yet — involving a study with 30,000 volunteers which will hopefully demonstrate its efficacy. The subjects will receive two doses, spaced one month apart.
Some participants experienced slight flu-like symptoms which were indeed similar to those experienced with other vaccines, including the annual flu shot, including fever, chills, headache and pain at the site of the injection.
However, the symptoms lasted only one day after the vaccinations had taken place. Further testing will include not only the younger adults who were involved in the original experiment but older individuals and those with chronic illnesses as well, according to Fauci.
The results of the new research have already been published in the New England Journal of Medicine. If all goes well, it is hoped that the National Institutes of Health will have the answer by the end of 2020 — findings which would come at a record-breaking speed considering the usual pace for vaccine research.