Dr. Paul Offit is the director of the Vaccine Education center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and suggested current reports of vaccine advancement are overblown.
In an interview with PBS he stated, “I wouldn’t say any vaccine has the lead. I think Moderna has the lead in press releases, but…all these programs are very early in their development… This is being done quickly for a virus that we don’t know a lot about, or at least that continues to surprise us, so I really wish companies would stop saying when this vaccine is going to be out, because they don’t know that yet. Why don’t we just do this one step at a time, do it carefully and let’s see what we find before we start crowing into the microphone?
There is evidence to show that early hype of vaccine development, efficacy be damned is making a positive impact on PR friendly manufacturers.
Moderna being one of the more outspoken companies working on a vaccine, recently hailed their success in completing their Phase I trial, moving into Phase 2 this week. It is still murky as to how well the individuals responded to the vaccine at this stage, especially coming from a Phase 1-sized 8 participants.
Moderna points to antibodies produced in the subjects bodies which neutralize the virus. However Anna Durbin, a vaccine researcher at Johns Hopkins University expresses concern that this data was collected at only two weeks after the administration of the vaccine commenting, "That’s very early. We don’t know if those antibodies are durable..."
STAT news reached out to Moderna on information on the antibody levels the company used as a reference. The company's senior manager for corporate communications responded, “The convalescent sera levels are not being detailed in our data readout, but would be expected in a downstream full data exposition with NIH and its academic collaborators...” According to STAT, Durbin's response was "The levels of neutralizing antibodies at day 43 were at or above levels generally seen in convalescent sera....I thought: Generally? What does that mean?"
John “Jack” Rose, a vaccine researcher from Yale University argued for better disclosure of the information: "When a company like Moderna with such incredibly vast resources says they have generated SARS-2 neutralizing antibodies in a human trial, I would really like to see numbers from whatever assay they are using."
The pace of the development of the vaccines is stoking concerns over a growing and lethal antivaxxer movement who rely primarily on safety concerns over the vaccine.
On VaccinesCauseSandwiches.com, I cover the many tricks antivaxxers use to mislead the public on vaccine safety.
The Trump administration's Project Warp speed jeopardizes the safety of vaccines being developed. The project aims to have 300 million vaccines available by early January, a process which normally takes three years of phased development. Anti vaccine communities have long and inaccurately argued vaccines are rushed and not properly tested before being administered to the public. Experts fear the falsehood could become a reality under Trump's aggressive timelines.