Covid-19: How the Phase Three Covid Vaccine Trials

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When you look at some of the positives that we heard over the last couple of days and weeks how close are we to a vaccine that will last and that will work yeah we have a number of studies have been entering what’s called phase three clinical trials and that’s important because those are trials that increase the number of people that are getting the vaccine so we’re now going to be talking about thousands or tens of thousands of people that are in these trials as opposed to 50 or 100 which is what we’ve been seeing previously and the other thing that these trials are going to do is they’re going to start to look at efficacy so they’re going to follow people and see if they’re getting infected compared to a control group of people who are getting um not getting the vaccine so we’re going to start to see data on antibody responses as well as real protection from infection and that’s of course the critical bar that we need with these and i think the other important thing is to note that there are probably four or five vaccines now that are entering these trials and so we have a lot of uh candidates coming through which increases the likelihood of finding the ones that are working the best and are the safest yeah i was asking i was going to ask about safety is is this a you know a case of national pride dr petkosh and is there a worry that actually safety won’t be at the forefront of all regulators to make sure that something’s out quick and that you become number one that the person and the country becomes number one with the vaccine yeah i can tell you from discussions with both uh the people who are running the trials as well as um you know investigators that are part of the regulatory process that safety is an absolute a high priority for this we do not want to bring a vaccine onto the market that has problems with respect to too many side effects um that’s particularly important because some of the vaccines that are coming through are using unique platforms that we haven’t had very widespread use of previously so that’s another reason why these phase three clinical trials are going to be incredibly important because we’re going to be seeing the responses to these new types of vaccine platforms as well as to see how well they work at inducing protection from kovid 19. could this be the you know shortest amount of time in which a vaccine was produced and distributed absolutely in modern times at least and i think that along with that will be a relatively high level of data about its safety and that’s the critical thing again as we’ve just mentioned so things are moving forward well there’s been organization at the level of trying to combine different steps of the studies and also to think ahead so for instance right now vaccine manufacturers are making doses of these vaccines that are going into trials not because there’s a guarantee that we’re going to use them but because if the vaccines show efficacy and safety we will now have a large amount of vaccine already put into the freezers that can be used to start immunization trials so there’s been some good coordination in terms of making sure we’re planning multiple steps ahead and not just focusing on the immediate step i mean the numbers in the us were really bad for a couple of weeks are most states now do they have a better handle on the situation are the number of cases and debts going down so it’s it’s a mixed result across the country what you’re seeing in the states that had high numbers of cases for the past week or two is you’re starting to see the death rates and the mortality rates increase tremendously proportionate to those initial cases that we saw a week or two ago now in other states we’re starting to see a small surge in cases um that doesn’t reach the level that we’ve seen in places like florida california texas but now is the time for those states to act and try to fine-tune their public health interventions so that they can have a better chance of flattening that curve early on and not waiting for the cases to get to such high levels as we saw throughout many of the other parts of the country i mean we’re almost in august which means that september’s around the corner what do we know about kids catching virus and also transmitting the virus when schools reopen yeah an incredibly important question so if we start with what we’re pretty firm on in terms of the data it’s that you know children don’t seem to suffer a severe illness at the rate that we see in other age groups which again is a positive they seem to be infected at a very similar rate as other groups so they’re seeing the virus as much as other groups are what we’re still not 100 sure about is how well they transmit the virus to others and again when it comes to opening schools for instance this is a critical thing an incredibly important thing that has to be addressed there are some studies that suggest that they can spread the virus probably not as efficiently as adults do but any level of spread can be very important and be critical in terms of moving the virus into populations that are very susceptible to infection so we really need to understand the transmission part better and we also need to understand that school openings are linked to transmission that’s going on in the population in the local population as well

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