Lisa A. Jackson, MD, MPH, internist with Washington Permanente Medical Group and research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, was quoted in a range of national media outlets about the first promising results for a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States.
Dr. Jackson is the lead author of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on July 14, which found that a vaccine developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc. succeeded in activating the immune systems of study subjects to fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.
The phase 1 study included 45 subjects and was conducted at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute and Emory University. Potential vaccines are tested for efficacy and safety in 4 phases of clinical trials before they can be made available to protect the public from infectious diseases.
“This [study] is an essential building block that is needed to move forward with the trials that could actually determine whether the vaccine does protect against infection,” Dr. Jackson told the Associated Press.
Dr. Jackson also told the Associated Press there have been “no serious side effects. But more than half the study participants reported flu-like reactions to the shots that aren’t uncommon with other vaccines — fatigue, headache, chills, fever, and pain at the injection site.”
Phase 2 trials for the mRNA-1273 vaccine are currently underway, and on July 27 Dr. Jackson and colleagues will launch a phase 3 efficacy study with 30,000 participants to prove if the vaccine is strong enough to protect against the coronavirus.
“We thought the immune responses look promising, but we don’t know whether the levels we’re seeing would actually protect against infection. It’s really hard to know that until you do the actual efficacy trial,” she told CNN. “So we’re laying the groundwork for the trial that will provide those answers.”
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