Global quest underway to speed COVID-19 vaccine trials – Reuters

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Global quest underway to speed COVID-19 vaccine trials – Reuters

Vials labelled "Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine" are seen in this illustration picture taken May 2, 2021. REUTERS/Dado RuvicCHICAGO, July 20 (Reuters) - Scientists are working on a benchmark for COVID-19 vaccine efficacy that would allow drugmakers to conduct smaller, speedier human trials to get them to market and address a huge global vaccine shortage.Researchers are trying to determine just what level of COVID-19 antibodies a vaccine must produce to provide protection against the illness. Regulators already use such benchmarks - known as correlates of protection - to evaluate flu vaccines without requiring large, lengthy clinical trials."You could use it to predict efficacy from a vaccine, which will be more important as we are less able to conduct placebo-controlled trials," said Stanley Plotkin, inventor of the Rubella vaccine and an expert on correlates of protection."The information is flowing in," he said. "By the end of this year, I think there will be enough data to convince everyone."An established benchmark for COVID-19 would allow drugmakers to conduct vaccine trials in just a few thousand people, about one-tenth the size of the studies conducted to gain authorization for currently widely-used coronavirus shots, researchers and drugmakers told Reuters.Those