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Research updates: encouraging news from COVID-19 vaccine trial, and more

Male physician giving male test subject an experimental vaccine

According to interim results published July 14 in the New England Journal of Medicine (“A SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccine — Preliminary Report”), an investigational vaccine designed to protect against COVID-19 was generally well tolerated and prompted an immune response in healthy adults. The study’s lead author is Lisa A. Jackson, MD, MPH, a senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle.

On March 16, Kaiser Permanente administered the first study vaccination to a small group of healthy volunteers ages 18 to 55 in Seattle; another group of volunteers participated at Emory University in Atlanta. The volunteers received various doses in two injections of the experimental vaccine, which is being co-developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Moderna Inc.

All of the participants produced antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Researchers found that antibodies taken from the participants had the ability to neutralize the virus at least as well as antibodies found in people who had recovered from an actual infection. Though more than half of the participants reported mild to moderate side effects such as fatigue, headache, chills, muscle aches, or pain at the injection site, no serious adverse events were reported.

The world urgently needs vaccines to protect against COVID-19. 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.”

— Lisa A. Jackson, MD, MPH

Four months after the historic start of the vaccine trial, experts emphasize that the findings are preliminary, and further research is needed to determine the vaccine’s efficacy and safety. But in a world longing for good news about the global pandemic, it’s an encouraging start.

Read the full story: COVID-19 vaccine generates immune response, well tolerated

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