Harvard Medical School monkey trials show promising COVID-19 vaccine results

Published: May. 20, 2020 at 8:53 PM EDT
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vaccine trial with rhesus monkeys.

Researchers used DNA vaccines and immunized 25 monkeys. Dr. Dan Barouch, the lead author of the study, called the results a breakthrough.

"We showed that vaccines induce antibodies, and the vaccinated animals are protected either partially or fully," he said. "But, we also show that the levels of antibodies correlate with how good the protection is."

According to CBS, researchers took the DNA of one of the coronavirus proteins and inserted it into plasma DNA vaccines. These vaccines helped the monkeys develop higher levels of antibodies, which lowered the level of the virus following exposure.

Researchers said eight of the monkeys that were exposed had no detectable trace of it, while the rest had very low levels.

When asked if he was optimistic that human trials would yield similar results, Barouch said "while data from humans will require rigorous clinical trials, these data in an animal model increases our optimism that the development of a vaccine for humans will be possible."

Barouch is unsure, however, how long immunity from the virus will last. These studies did not address that issue, but he called it an "important question."

Copyright 2020 WVLT News via CBS. All rights reserved.

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