Wednesday, July 15, 2020

A Glimmer Of Hope

The first clinical tests of a Covid-19 vaccine are hopeful.

An experimental coronavirus vaccine made by the biotech company Moderna provoked a promising immune response against the virus and appeared safe in the first 45 people who received it, researchers reported on Tuesday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Moderna’s vaccine, developed by researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was the first coronavirus vaccine to be tested in humans, and the company announced on Tuesday that large Phase 3 tests of it would begin on July 27, involving 30,000 people. Half of the participants will be a control group who will receive placebos.

This large clinical trial is expected to be completed by late October. But it’s not clear whether it will be possible to prove the vaccine is safe and effective by then. The trial will need to show that those who were vaccinated were significantly less likely to contract the virus than those who got a placebo. The fastest way to get results is to test the vaccine in a “hot spot” with many cases, and the study is looking for people at high risk because of their locations or circumstances.

Vaccines and improved treatments are the only hope of returning lives back to anything close to normal, and dozens of companies are racing to develop vaccines. Experts agree that more than one vaccine will be needed, because no single company could produce the billions of doses needed.

It can’t come soon enough.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida reported 9,194 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, a decrease after the two heaviest days of new cases since the start of the pandemic. But 132 new resident deaths were included in the state’s latest data, the most Florida has reported in a single day.

The new resident deaths include 32 in Miami-Dade County and 13 in Palm Beach County. Broward and Monroe counties had no additional fatalities reported.

The state is now up to 291,629 confirmed cases with 4,409 resident deaths associated with the novel coronavirus, according to the latest data released by the health department.

Florida had reported 15,300 new cases Sunday, which was a one-day record for any state, and then another 12,624 cases Monday.