The New York Times, August 27, 2020

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Seven months into the coronavirus crisis, with more than 30 vaccines rapidly advancing through the rigorous stages of clinical trials, a surprising number of research groups are placing bets on some that have not yet been given to a single person.

The New York Times has confirmed that at least 88 candidates are under active preclinical investigation in laboratories across the world, with 67 of them slated to begin clinical trials before the end of 2021.

Those trials may begin after millions of people have already received the first wave of vaccines. It will take months to see if any of them are safe and effective.

Continue reading “What if the First Coronavirus Vaccines Aren’t the Best?”

The New York Times, August 26, 2020

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On Feb. 26, 175 executives at the biotech company Biogen gathered at a Boston hotel for the first night of a conference. At the time, the coronavirus seemed a faraway problem, limited mostly to China.

But the virus was right there at the conference, spreading from person to person. A new study suggests that the meeting turned into a superspreading event, seeding infections that would affect tens of thousands of people across the United States and in countries as far as Singapore and Australia.

The study, which the authors posted online on Tuesday and has not yet been published in a scientific journal, gives an unprecedented look at how far the coronavirus can spread given the right opportunities.

Continue reading “One Meeting in Boston Seeded Tens of Thousands of Infections, Study Finds”

The New York Times, August 11, 2020

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When Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday that Russia had approved a coronavirus vaccine — with no evidence from large-scale clinical trials — vaccine experts were worried.

“I think it’s really scary. It’s really risky,” said Daniel Salmon, the director of the Institute for Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Salmon and other experts said that Russia is taking a dangerous step by jumping ahead of so-called Phase 3 trials, which can determine that the vaccine works better than a placebo and doesn’t cause harm to some people who get it.

Continue reading “‘This Is All Beyond Stupid.’ Experts Worry About Russia’s Rushed Vaccine”

The New York Times, August 4, 2020

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Novavax, the little-known Maryland company that received a $1.6 billion deal from the federal government for its experimental coronavirus vaccine, announced encouraging results in two preliminary studies on Tuesday.

In one study, 56 volunteers produced a high level of antibodies against the virus without any dangerous side effects. In the other, researchers found that the vaccine strongly protected monkeys from coronavirus infections.

Although it’s not possible to directly compare the data from clinical trials of different coronavirus vaccines, John Moore, a virologist at Weill Cornell Medicine who was not involved in the studies, said the Novavax results were the most impressive he had seen so far.

Continue reading “Scientists Are Optimistic About New Vaccine Studies From Novavax”

The New York Times, July 30, 2020

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An experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson protected monkeys from infection in a new study. It is the second vaccine candidate to show promising results in monkeys this week.

The company recently began a clinical trial in Europe and the United States to test its vaccine in people. It is one of more than 30 human trials for coronavirus vaccines underway across the world. But until these trials are complete — which will probably take several months — the monkey data offers the best clues to whether the vaccines will work.

Continue reading “Johnson & Johnson’s Coronavirus Vaccine Protects Monkeys, Study Finds”