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What Can Benefit COVID-19 Vaccine Research

The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic comes at an interesting era of epidemiological research and its influence on vaccine pursuits.

Namely, it’s not enough to have a good, general prophylaxis—investigators are pursuing a vaccine fit for every demographic, confounding factor, and age group. And a pandemic makes for no exceptions.

In an interview with Contagion, William Schaffner, MD, of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, discussed the strategy of participant age-stratification being practiced by at least 1 team of investigators for a potential COVID-19 vaccine. He also explained the difficulty of properly representing minority patients in vaccine research, and how that may influence development timelines.

“All of the companies that engage in vaccine trials have folks who are more or less skilled in trying to reaching out to minority communities, and trying to recruit participants,” he explained. “And it still works in an uncertain fashion.”

Additionally, Schaffner highlighted potential complementary agents to COVID-19 prophylaxis efforts, including pathway-targeting monoclonal antibodies that could potentially “neutralize the virus.”

Such research is underway by his own colleagues at Vanderbilt, as well as a team in The Netherlands.

“This is really 21st century applied science, to an immediate, acute problem,” Schaffner said. “And in that sense, this is really exciting—that it’s generated this much focused scientific attention.”

Watch the rest of the interview below.

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