Chimps’ Sniffles Hold the Key to Vaccine Trial in Palm Beach County
Chimpanzees are coming to the rescue of those looking for a COVID-19 vaccine, and our area is at the center of all the activity.A coronavirus drug trial that is set to begin next week in Palm Beach County will test a vaccine that supposedly triggers the body’s immune response by using a chimpanzee cold virus as a Trojan horse.The trial is seeking up to 1,600 volunteers to participate in the test, which is being conducted by international pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, in collaboration with Oxford University in England.“We hopefully will be able to vaccinate by the end of the week,” said Dr. Larry Bush, the primary principal investigator who is leading the trial.Bush is known for his work fighting several highly infectious diseases, including the anthrax threat that took place two decades ago.JEM Research Institute is responsible for carrying out the trial.Palm Beach County was selected as one of the first to do the study on the AstraZeneca vaccine since it is in a hot spot for the coronavirus, Bush said.This will be a Phase III trial, which is the last stop before the Food and Drug Administration conducts its review.Our dedicated employees across Operations are working at speed to expand manufacturing capacity for the potential #COVID19 vaccine, while continuing to drive efforts toward our sustainability targets under Ambition Zero Carbon. pic.twitter.com/H3j2HzGLRj— AstraZeneca (@AstraZeneca) August 3, 2020 If the vaccine proves effective with no serious side effects, it will hit the market with the title of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222).In explaining how the vaccine works, Bush says the engineered chimpanzee adenovirus that participants will receive contains the spike protein necessary for COVID-19 to infect the body.He goes on to explain that the vaccine then creates neutralizing antibodies as it kickstarts the body’s T-cells. However, trial participants will not become ill from the chimpanzee cold virus.Antibodies are blood proteins that can counteract an invading antigen, such as a virus. T-cells kill the cells infected with COVID.According to Bush, the vaccine works through two shots that are given 29 days apart. Side effects have reportedly been mild, and include irritation around the shot location and a low-grade fever for about one day.Two-thirds of the participants are slated to receive the vaccine, while the other third will receive a placebo.After the study, those participants who received the placebo will be given the option of receiving the actual vaccine.Those interested in participating in the study may call (561) 770-7370.