Aug 8, 2020
 in 
Science

Thousands of U.S. Volunteers Experiment with Coronavirus Vaccine

 BY 
Kristin Kerr
O

ne of the moments we have all been waiting for. At the end of July, the world’s largest coronavirus vaccine study was put to test with over 30,000 U.S. volunteers. Developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc. This vaccine is one of the leading candidates for a global vaccine for Coronavirus.

The Coronavirus Vaccine Study

Each volunteer unknowingly received a real vaccine shot or a dummy version of the shot. After receiving two doses of the vaccine (dummy or real), scientists hope to closely monitor which group experiences more infections day-to-day, even in areas where the virus is still spreading. Now there is no guarantee that this vaccine will necessarily protect, but it’s important to test it with a high number of volunteers to check the vaccine’s safety and let scientists compare all the shots. When testing vaccines, it’s  especially important to ensure enough Black and Hispanic participants are involved, as those populations are hard-hit by Covid-19.

We are in a really helpless time right now. It typically takes several years, if not more, to create a new vaccine from scratch, but records are being broken right now in hopes to work against the pandemic. Covid-19 wasn’t known to exist prior to December, but scientists began working on vaccines at the start of January after learning about the Coronavirus’ genetic sequence.

The Coronavirus Vaccine Timeline

Another moment we are all waiting for. When will the vaccine be readily available? Once regulators can approve one or more vaccines to prevent the spread of Covid-19, immunizations can begin as soon as possible. In all fairness, the first available doses will be reserved for those at highest risk.

"We're optimistic, cautiously optimistic that the vaccine will work and that toward the end of the year there will be data to prove it," Dr. Stephen Hoge, president of Massachusetts-based Moderna, told a House subcommittee last week.

Until this time comes, it is highly recommended, and legally enforced in some areas of the world to wear a mask in all public spaces, and to maintain physical distancing precautions.