Family Healthcast: What we need is a vaccine against COVID-19

Family Healthcast

(WSYR-TV) — While states scramble to get their hands on more coronavirus tests so we can reopen for business, what we will need the most to get back to normal is a vaccine.

We’ve been hearing that it could take 18 months, but now there is word from a lab in England that a vaccine could be available by September.

Scientists at Oxford University are planning to test their new coronavirus vaccine on more than 6,000 people in June.

With emergency approval from regulators, the first few million doses could be available by September.

How did they get such a head start on this vaccine?

The Oxford scientists were working on a similar vaccine last year against an earlier coronavirus strain and have already proved it is harmless to humans.

And they just got promising news that the vaccine is not only safe, but that it works.

Scientists here in the United States have tested the Oxford vaccine on rhesus monkeys at a National Institute of Health laboratory.

The animals are the closest things we have to humans. They gave a single dose of the vaccine to a small group of the animals and exposed them to heavy quantities of the coronavirus.

One month later, all monkeys were healthy. The results are now being shared with other scientists.

Immunity in monkeys is no guarantee that a vaccine will provide the same degree of protection for humans. But, the Oxford trial, even if it fails, will provide lessons about the nature of the coronavirus and about the immune system’s responses. This can give information to governments, donors, drug companies and other scientists that are hunting for a vaccine.

As always, stay home and stay safe.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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