Promise and prevention: experts discuss race for COVID-19 vaccine

NEW YORK (Reuters) – As the global race for a COVID-19 vaccine accelerates, Reuters invited a group of healthcare experts to answer questions as part of our #AskReuters Twitter chat series.

FILE PHOTO: Professor Gottfried Kremsner injects a coronavirus disease vaccine (COVID-19) from the German biotech company CureVac into a volunteer at the start of a series of clinical trials at his tropical institute at the university clinic in Tuebingen, Germany, June 22. 2020. REUTERS / Kai Pfaffenbach / File Photo

Digital special projects editor Lauren Young asked participants which vaccine candidates are most promising and what to expect in terms of vaccine prevention, safety, and deployment.

Below are the edited responses.

“The preliminary results of several vaccines, that is, the results of the phase 1 and / or phase 2 trials, have been very promising. We should definitely “believe” these results, while acknowledging that they do not prove that the vaccine is effective.

These early-phase trials address safety and whether the vaccine elicits a good immune response. The good news is that we have several vaccines that have or are progressing in Phase 3 trials, the phase necessary to demonstrate that it ‘works’ to obtain the license. ”

– Aubree Gordon, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health

“It is difficult to draw firm conclusions from the Phase 1 and 2 data and press releases. The AstraZeneca / Oxford vaccine has animal data. I’m sure we’ll get a COVID-19 vaccine, but I’m not sure which candidate (s) will do it in people’s arms. ”

– Amesh Adalja, Principal Investigator, Johns Hopkins University Health Safety Center

“We can have faith in several potential vaccines because they build on other successful efforts. Oxford / AstraZeneca, some (National Institute of Health) and one in China are promising. But this is what worries me the most: global competition instead of collaboration is hurting. In this pandemic, we must quickly realize that there are better ways to do it. ”

– Matthew Kavanagh, assistant professor of global health and visiting professor of law at Georgetown University; director of global health policy and policy initiative at the O’Neill Institute

“The” crazy race “of being first on the market should NOT compromise science in any way. We have very strict scientific principles for scientific studies and these should not be compromised … Ethics is of utmost importance in any scientific study ”

– Dr. Krutika Kuppalli, Emerging Leader in Biosafety Fellows at the Johns Hopkins University Health Security Center

“We have vaccine candidates who get to Phase 3 trials within seven months of knowing the genetic sequence of the virus. This is what can happen when public, academic and private entities come together with a single focus. When we are united, we can achieve much more! ”

– Infectious Disease Society of America

“Things will be confusing when fall comes with COVID-19 and the active flu at the same time. Because we have an effective flu shot, we can at least get protection from one of them.

– Raed Dweik, president of the Cleveland Clinic Respiratory Institute.

Lauren Young and David Gregorio Edition

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