The Maryland native, David Rach, who is a graduate immunology student claims that he was a part of a trial conducted at the University of Maryland, which is overseeing testing and development of a vaccine by pharma giant Pfizer and German counterpart BioNTech.
The man said that he was one of the first patients to be dosed in the early phase trials held in May and is now seeing a spike in his virus-fighting antibodies. Speaking to a news agency, he said:
“There is a component of relief seeing that it’s actually producing results, that the vaccine is producing antibodies,”
While Rach said that he is due to be tested in October to see whether he actually gained immunity, he went on to say that he is not too sure whether he received the actual dosage of the vaccine or the placebo dose, he did say that the second dosage of the trial medicine did illicit certain response in his body, with minor side-effects, which makes him believe that he is one of the first few individuals in the world to be successfully vaccinated against COVID-19.
What vaccine is Pfizer-BioNTech working on?
The pharma giant, Pfizer, in collaboration with the German company, has introduced four vaccine candidates, which have been devised out of messenger RNA (mRNA) format and target antigen which would be tested on volunteers to identify the most viable and suited vaccine of the four. The data is being shared with scientists in real-time. The tests are currently going on in Germany and parts of the USA.
Out of the four, while three potential vaccines contain nucleoside-modified mRNA, the remaining one contains self- amplifying mRNA, which is considered to be the safest and the most effective in rooting out viruses.
Apart from Rach’s claim, early observations also suggest that the vaccine might be helping stimulate the growth of antibodies in the body at rates equal or higher to those who have the illness.
While Pfizer is currently underway in the second phase of its testing, the company plans to scale up production of over a 100 million doses by the end of the next year, with more doses available next year.
In the first stage of testing, close to 200 people aged between 18-55 are being tested, while in the next phase, another 160 people (possibly from higher-risk categories) will be tested and evaluated.
Apart from this, companies like Moderna Inc., India’s Bharat Biotech, Chinese CanSino Inc. and a prototype developed by Oxford University in partnership with British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm, AstraZeneca are involved in different phases of testing.
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