Jacob Serrano has become the first American to be dosed with either the vaccine or placebo from Oxford and AstraZeneca. The 23-year-old American has already lost seven family members due to the Coronavirus and now he wants to be a part of this vaccine development effort to save as many lives as possible.
Serrano said that "I know there was a risk because it's like — it's a trial. But I'd rather have us one step closer, no matter what it takes."
As per the reports, Oxford researchers have started the final round of its COVID-19 vaccine testing in the U.S. in partnership with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, Oxford researchers already started dosing the first volunteers in Florida on Friday, August 28.
Serrano was one of those 31 volunteers who received either the vaccine or placebo throughout the weekend, as part of the clinical trial. He received the dose at Headlands Jem Research Institute in Lake Worth, Florida. Later, he told CBS News, "Look at the amount of lives that we lost. And I just don't want that to keep occurring."
The third and final phase of the vaccine trials are conducted to ensure the safety of a potential vaccine and during this period, researchers will conclude how effective it is at reducing or blocking SARS-CoV-2 symptoms. After the completion of the final stage, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would consider approving it for mass use.
Dr. Larry Bush, the infectious disease expert and lead principal investigator at Headlands Jem Research Institute said he was optimistic that the vaccine is effective and added that "The immune response is very encouraging."
As per Dr. Bush, in the first and second phase of the trials, the Coronavirus vaccine candidate had shown that not only a person will get robust neutralizing antibodies to fight the virus, but also people receive a T-cell response to fight off the cells that do become infected and "that's crucial in treating infections."
However, Headlands Research said it is aiming to enroll more people from the Black and Latino communities who have been disproportionately affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. That's the group that would highly benefit from vaccination, he added.
AZD1222, the vaccine candidate developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca is undergoing phase three trial in several countries, including India, Brazil, England, and South Africa. AstraZeneca said trials were soon likely to start in Japan and Russia. As per the reports in early phases, researchers find no evidence which would indicate that this vaccine can cause serious side effects.