Lisa Jackson, MD, discusses race to develop COVID-19 vaccine on NPR

On a recent episode of NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday, Lisa A. Jackson, MD, an internist with Washington Permanente Medical Group, shared her insights on the race among scientists to develop a vaccine for the new coronavirus that leads to COVID-19 disease.

In the NPR segment, Dr. Jackson, who is also a senior investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, provided an update on where vaccine development stands. The institute is one of several designated research centers across the nation developing a coronavirus vaccine.

“We found out about this new virus in January,” Dr. Jackson said, “and now we have vaccine supply to conduct a trial in March. And that’s unprecedented. That is so rapid.”

NPR reported that Dr. Jackson has already begun recruiting dozens of volunteers in Seattle to be the first human test subjects for the vaccine. Additionally, she notes that recent lab experiments appear to be producing positive results.

Dr. Jackson estimates that a COVID-19 vaccine won’t be available to the public for another year and a half because of the need for extensive human testing. However, she adds that once a vaccine is developed, it can provide benefits for many years to come.

“Even if it [COVID-19] completely goes away and that’s the last we ever see of this particular virus, the phenomena that led to this virus is going to happen again,” Dr. Jackson said. “We need to be more prepared.”

Read the full story on the NPR website.

See related story on the TIME site.