American scientists have decided to test their new vaccine against the coronavirus on themselves. A story not unlike that of the polio vaccine.
American scientists at Harvard have decided to test their new vaccine against the coronavirus on themselves. The team, dubbed Radvac, dispenses with any formal FDA approval, pushing the health risks to researchers into the background.
A product that can be sprayed directly into the nose
“I think the risks associated with Covid-19 are much greater (than our own health), given the many ways we can catch it and its multiple consequences,” said George Church, geneticist at the Wyss Institute. In addition to researchers at Radvac, the vaccine was administered to 90 volunteers.
The vaccine tested aims to be as simple as possible. Radvac scientists designed a product that could be sprayed directly into the nose, which could be injected at home and received in the mail. Studies of the MERS and SARS vaccines were used as the basis for the development of the immunization.
The polio vaccine
While the initiative is noble, bioethicist Arthur Caplan considers Radvac researchers to be “completely nuts”. Yet the story is not unlike that of the polio vaccine. At the time when this viral infection of the spinal cord ravaged Europe and the United States, causing terrible paralysis and the death of many children, the virologist Jonas Salk decides to test on himself, his family and some volunteers a polio vaccine. On March 26, 1953, he announced to the world that his product was effective.
The race for the coronavirus vaccine is in full swing around the world. The entry of three projects into phase 3 of clinical trials – the one developed by the American Moderna, the Briton from the University of Oxford in partnership with AstraZeneca and the Chinese CanSino – gives hope for the development of an effective immunization by 2021.
Mandell is currently working towards a medical degree from the University of Central Florida. His main passions include kayaking, playing soccer and tasting good food. He covers mostly science, health and environmental stories for the Scientific Origin.