Coronavirus Task Force: Vaccine Candidate Being Tested, Americans Urged to Remain at Home

Kristen Coppock, MA, Editor
Published Online: Monday, March 16th, 2020
Americans are being urged to gather in groups no larger than 10 people, while a vaccine candidate for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is undergoing phase 1 testing, said President Donald Trump and members of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force, during a Monday press conference.1

Trump and task force members urged Americans to take seriously social distancing recommendations made by the CDC and other health experts. In an appeal to all Americans, task force member Deborah Birx, MD, said everyone has a role in stopping COVID-19 from spreading. She urged entire households to self-quarantine, especially in the event that a individual member is diagnosed with the virus.

“That stops 100% of the transmission outside of the household,” Birx said. “Everyone in the household should protect our seniors. Guidelines will only work if every American takes them to heart.”

Speaking directly to Millennials, Birx said this generation of Americans are the “core group” for stopping the virus. She said that they are the group that communicates the most through digital means, in lieu of in-person meetings. “We’re asking all of them to hold their gatherings to under 10 people. Not just in bars, and in restaurants, but in homes,” Birx said.

Trump added that people should gather in groups of no more than 10. He also urged Americans to conduct education at home, if possible; avoid travel; and avoid eating in public food courts, bars, and restaurants.

Meanwhile, an investigational vaccine is being tested at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle, Washington, part of NIAID’s Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium. According to the National Institutes of Health, the open-label phase 1 trial—funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)—is enrolling 45 healthy adult volunteers aged 18 to 55 years over a course of 6 weeks. The trial’s first participant received the investigational vaccine today.2

“Finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2 is an urgent public health priority,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, MD, in a press release.2 “This phase 1 study, launched in record speed, is an important first step toward achieving that goal.”

In addition to a vaccine candidate, Trump said other COVID-19 treatments, including antivirals, are in development.1

  1. White House Coronavirus Task Force Press Briefing. Presented online: March 16, 2020; Washington, DC. Accessed March 16, 2020.
  2. NIH clinical trial of investigational vaccine for COVID-19 begins [news release]. Bethesda, MD; March 16, 2020; NIH website. Accessed March 16, 2020.

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