April 13, 2020: Thoughts on COVID-19 Vaccine

A safe and effective vaccine for COVID 19 would be an excellent solution to the problem with this virus.  For many other highly infectious diseases such as measles, polio, and smallpox, vaccines have effectively prevented their global transmission. Vaccine development for coronaviruses is progressing. Previous vaccine studies in animals for SARS 1 and MERS, two other even more virulent coronaviruses associated with outbreaks, demonstrated that neutralizing antibody could be induced by these vaccines and that the disease could be prevented. 


A few animal models suggested that some SARS 1 and MERS vaccines were associated with enhanced disease after challenge with the wild type virus, however.  Immunization of volunteers with a SARS 2 vaccine has begun in the United States with an mRNA directed to the pre-fusion spike protein of the virus.  This Phase 1 trial is progressing rapidly and soon Phase 2 and 3 trials will begin.  Many companies are also studying SARS 2 vaccines. In fact, WHO website lists 41 vaccines in various stages of development globally.  Potential SARS 2 vaccines are desperately needed. They will need to be studied first in normal health individuals, the duration of immunity assessed, and the potential for enhanced vaccine disease determined.  These vaccines have great potential.


Prepared by Kathryn M. Edwards, MD, Professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine


It is always good to get comments from the experts in this everchanging medical arena.  Thanks to Dr. Edwards. ds


I am interested in any questions you would like answered in the Question of the Week.  Please email me with any suggestion at donna.seger@vumc.org.


Donna Seger, MD

Executive Director

Tennessee Poison Center


Poison Help Hotline: 1-800-222-1222