What you need to know about the search for a COVID vaccine
(HealthDay)—Forty-five potential vaccines for COVID-19 are being tested in human trials and many more are being tested in animals. Researchers are using several approaches to trigger an immune response against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The most common types of vaccines contain a virus that has been engineered with coronavirus genes to provoke an immune response, according to Dr. Edward Jones-Lopez, an infectious disease expert at Keck Medicine of University of Southern California.
Here’s what you need to know, Jones-Lopez said in a Keck news release.
After lab and animal testing, vaccines enter a phase 1 clinical trial, where a small group of people (10-50) gets the vaccine to see the right dose, side effects and safety.
Phase 2 expands it to hundreds of people to test a vaccine for safety and effectiveness.
Phase 3 trials expand to tens of thousands of people to see if the vaccine protects against the infection or severe disease, and to continue to assess safety in a larger population.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves a vaccine only after a successful phase 3 trial.In a phase 3 trial, people are randomly selected to receive the vaccine or a placebo. Researchers then compare how many in each group become infected.
The FDA says that a vaccine must be at least 50% effective in preventing COVID-19 or protecting against serious illness if someone does get infected.One or more vaccines may become available three to six months after completion of a trial. That could be as soon as early next year.
Jones-Lopez said people may need to be vaccinated each year, just as for the flu, but we don’t know yet.
How is the vaccine being developed so quickly?
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