BOSTON — Phase 3 of the clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine began Monday.
More than 30,000 people will volunteer to get this vaccine, which is being developed by the biotech company Moderna, Inc. in Cambridge along with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.
“We hope that once and for all we can knock it out with a safe and effective vaccine,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci on a virtual call Monday afternoon. “So it really is engaging the community at the community level, being completely transparent with them and getting them to understand the dual benefits: benefit for yourself and your own protection, but also benefit to society because the more people that are protected in society the less change the virus has to spread rapidly.”
Half of the participants will receive the trial COVID-19 vaccine, while the other half will get a placebo.
About a month later, those volunteers will get a second booster shot.
Then over the next few months doctors will monitor how well this vaccine works to protect against the virus.
“The key challenge is to develop a sense of, is there an imbalance,” said Dr. Stephen Hoge, president of Morderna, Inc. “Those who got the placebo versus those who got the vaccine – is there an imbalance in the number of cases, the number of people who are becoming sick.”
Moderna President Dr. Stephen Hoge says hopefully those who have the trial vaccine will be less likely to get sick.
Dr. Fauci also hopes just one or two versions of the vaccine will wipe out the virus for good.
“I hope that we won’t have to accept coronavirus as a natural recurring thing each year,” said Dr. Fauci. “It is conceivable that in fact might turn out to be a bit like influenza, I don’t think so because we don’t see it mutating in the sense of changing very, very rapidly.”
While doctors and scientists work around the clock to develop this COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. Fauci says everyone should still follow public health guidelines like wearing a mask and social distancing.
“Right now we are in active transmission and very significant spread in this country, so when people say are we going to have a second wave? I always answer to them and say, if you’re talking about waves, we’re still in the first wave,” said Dr. Fauci.
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