Full Frame: Coronavirus Vaccine with Dr. Christopher Austin
Researchers around the world are racing to find a vaccine for Covid-19. As of the end of August, there were 172 countries working on a coronavirus vaccine, according to the World Health Organization. More than 30 clinical trials are underway in humans.
Countries worldwide agree that a vaccine must be ready to be administered to the public as soon as possible, but there remain many questions about the availability and efficacy of these vaccines.
"One is how effective is the vaccine? We don't know that yet. And a secondly, how durable is it? How long does it last? And then thirdly, how do we make enough doses for all the people who need it. The logistical issues of making a billion doses of anything new is quite extraordinary and it's something that the medical field has never had to deal with before," said Dr. Christopher Austin, director of the National Center for Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Austin's agency is charged delivering therapies more quickly to the public. When it comes to vaccines, the typical timeline for research, testing and approval is at least a decade. Now, drugmakers are trying to do the same in a matter of months.
When it comes to vaccines, the typical timeline for research, testing and approval is at least a decade. Now, drugmakers are trying to do the same in a matter of months.
Unprecedented collaboration on a global scale is making this tight timeline more realistic. One of the drugmakers testing coronavirus vaccine in humans is U.S.-based Novavax. Early clinical trials in 56 volunteers found that participants who received the vaccine produced antibodies that neutralized the virus, without any serious side effects. The next step is to increase the number of volunteers and test against a placebo.
"That's going to be the issue, conducting these trials, getting enough cases where you have a really statistically unassailable level of protection," said Dr. Gregory Glenn, president of research and development for Novavax. He estimated that this stage could happen as early as December. Technology, like smart farming and electric vehicles, is helping the globe transition to a cleaner future. However, one major culprit is transportation. It accounts for a quarter of the world's carbon dioxide emissions, mainly from cars and trucks. Could there be a sustainable solution that would help our climate crisis? Full Frame talks with Lewis Liu of electric car company Karma Automotive. Climate change is forcing people to confront hard decisions about how they live. Is the moral imperative to save the planet enough to change deeply ingrained habits?
To understand the human behavior side of climate change, Full Frame host, Mike Walter speaks with conservationist Brett Jenks. At a Senate committee hearing Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci answered a series of questions from Senator Lamar Alexander about what to expect from the coronavirus vaccines that are currently being tested. Watch his remarks.