Home Health News Man who lost 7 relatives to COVID-19 first to try experimental vaccine in US – New York Post

Man who lost 7 relatives to COVID-19 first to try experimental vaccine in US – New York Post

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A man who lost seven family members to the coronavirus pandemic is now the first American to try an experimental Oxford University vaccine for the deadly disease.

Jacob Serrano, 23, is among 31 volunteers for a Florida trial of a potential vaccine developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca — and the first to try the drug when the final phase of US trials got underway on Friday, CBS News reported Tuesday.

“Look at the amount of lives that we lost,” Serrano told CBS medical contributor Dr. Jon LaPook. “And I just don’t want that to keep occurring.”

“I know there was a risk because it’s like — it’s a trial,” he said. “But I’d rather have us one step closer, no matter what it takes.

The volunteers received either a placebo or the experimental vaccine over the weekend, with Serrano getting the first dose at the Headlands Jem Research Institute in Lake Worth, Florida, CBS said.

The tests will gauge how effective the vaccine is at blocking or reducing COVID-19 symptoms, the final step before the Food and Drug Administration begins considering whether to approve it for public use.

“The immune response is very encouraging,” said Dr. Larry Bush, lead investigator at the Florida site.

Bush said that, during the first two rounds of trials, the vaccine showed that “no only do you get robust neutralizing antibodies to fight the coronavirus, you get a T-cell response… to fight off the cells that do become infected.”

Jacob Serrano
Jacob SerranoCBS

“That’s crucial in treating infections,” he said.

Researchers said they plan to test the vaccine on up to 50,000 volunteers worldwide, and is set to start the third phase of trials in Japan and Russia.

The coronavirus has infected more than 25 million people worldwide, killing 852,000. The US has reported more than 6 million cases and nearly 184,000 fatalities from the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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