What It Takes To Develop A COVID-19 Vaccine

Jul 28, 2020

Vaccine development is complicated. We break down the process from testing to distribution, and bring you the latest on the leading contenders for a COVID-19 vaccine.


Caroline Chen, health care reporter for ProPublica. (@CarolineYLChen)

Florian Krammer, professor of microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. His research focuses on immunology, infectious disease, vaccine development, viruses and virology. (@florian_krammer)

Dr. Stanley Perlman, professor of microbiology, immunology and pediatrics at the University of Iowa. He has studied coronaviruses for nearly 40 years. (@UIowaMicroBio)

From The Reading List

ProPublica: How — and When — Can the Coronavirus Vaccine Become a Reality?” — “It’s been six months since researchers in China said they had identified a novel coronavirus spreading in the city of Wuhan. Hope and desire for a vaccine to end the global devastation is growing with each passing week.”

CNN: First Phase 3 clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine in the United States begins” — “The first Phase 3 clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine in the United States began Monday. The investigational vaccine was developed by the biotechnology company Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. The trial is to be conducted at nearly 100 US research sites, according to Moderna. The first patient was dosed at a site in Savannah, Georgia.”

Business Insider: “You’re going to need more than one coronavirus shot. One dose of a vaccine probably won’t be enough, experts say.” — “We’re all holding our breath for a coronavirus vaccine — for the day everyone can line up, get a shot, and then finally return to life as normal.”

ProPublica: “‘Fast-Tracking’ a Coronavirus Vaccine Sounds Great. It’s Not That Simple.” — “Pharmaceutical companies are racing to develop a coronavirus vaccine, with the most ambitious timelines ever attempted in history.”

Wall Street Journal: “Coronavirus Vaccine Data Raises Hope for Trio of Candidates” — “The prospects of successfully developing a coronavirus vaccine as soon as this year were buoyed Monday when three of the world’s leading candidates reported positive early trial data.”

Twitter ThreadReader: “Antibodies/Immunology” — “‘There is a lot of talk about decaying antibodies.'”

The Telegraph: “Risk, uncertainty and fear of failure: Why scientists aren’t celebrating a coronavirus vaccine yet” — “In 1976, when a mysterious new flu began spreading in the north-eastern United States a few months before the presidential election, President Gerald Ford raced ahead with a high-profile campaign to vaccinate the nation. The flu strain turned out to be rather mild – and the vaccine caused several hundred people to develop paralysing Guillain-Barré syndrome.”

Bloomberg: “The World’s Supply Chain Isn’t Ready for a Covid-19 Vaccine” — “The industries that shepherd goods around the world on ships, planes and trucks acknowledge they aren’t ready to handle the challenges of shipping an eventual Covid-19 vaccine from drugmakers to billions of people.”

Axios: The state of the global race for a coronavirus vaccine” — “Vaccines from the U.K., U.S. and China are sprinting ahead in a global race that involves at least 197 vaccine candidates and is producing geopolitical clashes even as it promises a possible pandemic escape route.”

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