- 120,000 volunteers will be needed to test a range of coronavirus vaccines.
- To date, approximately 107,000 Americans have indicated a willingness to test potential vaccine candidates.
- The number of new coronavirus cases in the United States continues to rise rapidly.
Without an effective vaccine for COVID-19, many medical professionals believe there’s a strong chance we’ll be dealing with the coronavirus for the next year or two. And with fall creeping up around the corner, things may take a turn for the worse once the weather begins to cool and flu season kicks into high gear.
Compounding matters is the fact that many people in the United States steadfastly refuse to wear masks in public. Other countries, meanwhile, have handled the coronavirus pandemic much more strategically. Indeed, this is why countries like Italy have seen the number of new coronavirus cases dwindle while the United States has seen its number of new coronavirus cases skyrocket.
The good news amidst the rapid rise in new coronavirus cases is that we’re starting to see some promising results from early trials of coronavirus vaccines. Just last week, for example, Moderna reported encouraging results from its Phase 1 study on a COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Specifically, Moderna noted that 45 volunteers who received the vaccine developed a “rapid and strong” response to the virus. And while some minor side effects were reported, the study found that the drug was generally “safe and well-tolerated.” A more expansive Phase 3 trial of Moderna’s vaccine is set to begin in late July and will involve more than 30,000 otherwise healthy Americans.
Moderna’s upcoming Phase 3 trial underscores a challenge involved with testing potential coronavirus vaccines: Finding enough people willing to voluntarily take an unproven vaccine. That said, USA Today reports that more than 107,000 Americans have already signed up to participate in vaccination testing.
“That’s why we’re optimistic that we’re going to be able to get the trials enrolled in an expeditious way,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said. “I think we can do what we need to do.”
All told, experts anticipate that approximately 120,000 volunteers will be needed such that a range of drug makers can sufficiently conduct drug trials. That being the case, Harvard professor and immunologist Barry Bloom tells the USA Today that “it’s encouraging at this stage to have 107,000 volunteers.”
In the interim, while work on a coronavirus vaccine remains ongoing, the number of new coronavirus cases is rising rapidly across the country. This past Friday, for example, the United States saw upwards of 76,000 new coronavirus cases. What’s more, the number of coronavirus-related deaths is now starting to increase alongside it. And though the death tally isn’t as high as it was about two months ago, some experts believe that could change over the next few weeks.
In a best-case scenario, experts believe a coronavirus vaccine may be ready to go as early as late 2020. Dr. Fauci, though, has cautioned that a more optimistic timeline might see an effective coronavirus vaccine arrive sometime in early 2021.