Family Healthcast: Progress being made toward COVID-19 vaccine

Family Healthcast

(WSYR-TV) — Hopes are high for a coronavirus vaccine early in the new year. Whether that happens depends on testing being done right now.

In fact, 27 vaccines are being tested on people right now.

The largest study took a huge step forward this week when the experimental shot was given to the first of 30,000 people at 89 sites around the country.

Half of the people will receive two shots of the vaccine, 28 days apart, and half will receive two shots of a saltwater placebo. Neither the volunteers nor the medical staff giving the injections will know who is getting the real vaccine.

Researchers will then monitor the subjects, looking for side effects and waiting to see if significantly fewer vaccinated people get COVID-19, indicating that the vaccine works.

The main goal is to determine whether the vaccine can prevent the illness.

The study will also try to find out if it can prevent severe COVID-19 and death, if it can prevent infection entirely — based on lab tests — and if just one shot can prevent the illness.

The full enrollment of 30,000 people in the trial is expected to be completed by the end of the summer and results might be available by November.

At least three more so-called Phase Three trials will be starting soon, each also needing 30,000 patients.

A second company, Pfizer, announced late Monday afternoon that it had also begun a late-stage study of a coronavirus vaccine.

The first subjects in that study received injections at the University of Rochester on Monday.

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