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How the availability of first COVID-19 vaccines could impact the development of new vaccines

What does the availability of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines mean for all the other trials?

There are 63 vaccines in human clinical trials and 18 of them are in the final stages of testing. Another 85 are being tested in animals.

The first vaccines are not necessarily going to turn out to be the best vaccines. Other vaccines still in development could work better for certain groups, like children — or have qualities that make them more practical. For example, Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine only requires one dose.

READ: Tracking COVID-19 vaccine doses per Michigan county

As more people become eligible for the currently authorized vaccines, continue those other vaccine trials becomes more challenging.

Brandon Kenig has been a participant in the Inovio vaccine phase one trial since the spring. The trial included 48 people who all received the vaccine. Kenig said he still wants to get an authorized vaccine when it’s available — but to do so he must drop out of the Inovio trial.

Principal investigator Dr. John Ervin said participant dropouts are a dilemma he’s anticipated since trials began. It’s ultimately up to the participant.

Because of the slow rollout of the vaccines, Ervin said by the time trial dropouts happen — most trials underway now would hopefully have the data they need to keep moving forward. Trials starting later could have a tough time finding participants.

Both Pfizer and Moderna have expressed their desire to allow their placebo groups to get vaccinated and to hopefully remain in the clinical trials for follow-up.

As vaccines become more widely available, it will certainly be more difficult to test other vaccines.

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