A team of scientists jostled for a view of the lab dish, staring impatiently for the first clue that an experimental vaccine against the new coronavirus just might work.
After weeks of round-the-clock research at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, it was time for a key test. If the vaccine revs up the immune system, the samples in that dish — blood drawn from immunized mice — would change colour.
Minutes ticked by, and finally they started glowing blue.
“Especially at moments like this, everyone crowds around,” said Kizzmekia Corbett, an NIH research fellow leading the vaccine development. When her team sent word of the positive results, “it was absolutely amazing.”
Dozens of research groups around the world are racing to create a vaccine as COVID-19 cases continue to grow. Importantly, they’re pursuing different types of vaccines — shots developed from new technologies that not only are faster to make than traditional inoculations but might prove more potent.
Some researchers even aim for temporary vaccines, such as shots that might guard people’s health a month or two at a time while longer-lasting protection is developed.
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