Seven Lost Family Members Later, Man Takes COVID-19 Trial Vaccine
As the first American to be dosed with either the vaccine or its placebo from Oxford and AstraZeneca, Serrano has already lost seven family members to COVID-19 and says he wants to be part of the solution to save lives, no matter the cost.
“I know there was a risk because it’s like — it’s a trial,” Serrano said. “But I’d rather have us one step closer, no matter what it takes.”
During the third and final phase, the vaccine is tested for safety and how effective it is at reducing or blocking COVID-19 symptoms. The Food and Drug Administration would then consider approving it for public use.
Serrano was dosed on Friday, August 28 at Headlands Jem Research Institute in Lake Worth, Florida. Infectious disease expert and lead principal investigator at the site, Dr. Larry Bush, said he was optimistic that the vaccine is effective.
“The immune response is very encouraging,” he said.
In the first and second phases of the trials, Bush said the vaccine had shown that “not 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. That’s crucial in treating infections.”
T-cells are “another arm of the immune system” that can help fight the virus, Bush said.
Oxford University has been conducting phase three trials in the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa. In earlier phases, no evidence indicated the vaccine caused serious reactions.