WASHINGTON (NBC News) – With coronavirus cases on the rise in more than 20 states, researchers are working around the clock to develop a vaccine.
The government has selected five vaccine projects to back with federal funding, hoping one or more could someday prevent people from getting COVID-19.
Developers are moving faster than they ever have, trying to do in months, something that usually takes years, all while making sure it’s safe for the public.
“It’s great to expedite, it’s dangerous to rush, and it’s tough finding that happy medium,” says former FDA Commissioner Peter Pitts.
Experts speculate the latest rise in COVID-19 cases could be due to lockdown-weary Americans starting to gather again in large numbers, like what many states saw over Memorial Day weekend.
Some fear the re-opening of indoor gathering spots like bars and restaurants, and even large protests taking place in cities across the country, could fuel a continued rise.
Researchers say an effective vaccine is key to life truly returning to “normal,” but until there is one, it’s up to everyone to slow the spread of the virus.
“We have to make sure that we are socially distancing, we have to wear masks, we have to make sure we’re engaging in more aggressive personal hygiene,” Pitts says.
Next month, biotech firm Moderna will be the first to enter phase three testing of its vaccine in the United States, the last step before FDA approval.
30,000 people will take part in the Moderna vaccine test.
Vaccine candidates at Oxford University and Johnson & Johnson will also be entering phase-3 trials soon.
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