Susan Spencer has already been vaccinated against COVID-19, one of the first to receive Moderna’s two shooting modes during a clinical trial in Seattle last spring.
But the 76-year-old Mercer Island woman wrapped up her hair again this week to help test an experimental amplifier designed to protect the novel’s most troubling new version of the coronavirus.
“This is viral, unpleasant,” said Spencer, a retired family doctor.
He երկու’s two other Seattle residents were shot dead on Thursday, helping to launch an early-stage vaccine adapted for B.1.351, which was found in South Africa late last year and is now spreading around the world. At least 17 cases have been reported in Washington since January, according to the state Department of Health.
The trial will assess the safety of vaccines and the immune responses of more than 200 volunteers. That would include about 50 people in Seattle who, like Spencer, have already been vaccinated against the virus.
“We are exploring a possible strategy for using this vaccine,” said Dr. Lisa Acks Exxon, co-chair of the study at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Washington Research Institute.
The shot could only be used as a booster, for example, or as a stand-alone vaccine. Different dosages are also being studied, along with mixtures of the two formulations.
A total of about 150 people who have not yet been vaccinated will be transferred to Seattle և three other places where the trial is taking place: Nashville, Atlanta, Inc.
Ackson Akson was the leader of the first Moderna test in Seattle, the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine. Researchers continue to track down these volunteers, said Acks Exxon.
With the advent of new versions, vaccine manufacturers have begun to correct their wording. Something that is especially easy to do with messenger RNA vaccines like Moderna.
The new vaccine is essentially identical to the widely used vaccine, except that it contains a mRNA code for the spike protein, which the virus uses to attach to and infect cells.
“It’s a subtle difference,” said Acks Exxon.
None of the options that have emerged in the last few months are as troubling as B.1.351. Not only does it appear to be 50% more contagious than the strain itself, but it is also the best way to avoid both natural and vaccine-induced immunity.
The changes are due to mutations in the spike protein, which give the version an advantage.
The existing vaccines still appear to provide “adequate protection” against all circulating variants, said Dr. Anthony Fauche, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in a statement announcing the trial, which is funded by the NIAID.
“However, out of caution, NIAID continued to work with Moderna to evaluate a candidate for this version of the vaccine if an updated vaccine is needed,” Faucin said.
Nationwide, the CDC reports 321. Infections caused by B.1.351. The virus has spread so rapidly in South Africa that more than 90 percent of infections have been reported within a month of its discovery, according to Exxon.
“We are in a kind of explosion of variants that are more contagious, have a real advantage in terms of their ability to spread among the population,” he said. “Until we can get a gearbox, we are creating a breeding ground for options.”
The Food and Drug Administration said in February that the modified vaccines would not have to go through the same long-term testing as the original versions, but it was not yet clear what the approved process would involve, Acks Exxon added.
Spencer had no side effects after his first two shots on Moderna. Thursday’s shooting left him a little shocked, but he was fine on Friday.
That’s a small price to pay for being able to help with such important research, he said. “As a doctor, I loved my patients, I hated retiring,” he said. “This is a way to return.”
Volunteers can register for the trial at https://corona.kpwashingtonresearch.org/.