Development of COVID-19 vaccines is moving forward at an unprecedented pace, and the public interest and press coverage are huge. And yet it is not easy for lay person or scientist to keep track of the multitude of vaccine candidates. There are now at least 27 vaccine candidates undergoing human trials around the world, and four of them have recently released safety data from phase I and II clinical trials.
Nature’s Ewen Callaway recently reported on these new data and provides a very helpful overview of the state of the vaccine candidate field. The most important takeaway from these early trials is that the tested vaccines appear to be safe enough to move on to phase III efficacy trials and to an assessment of whether any vaccine can actually prevent infection. Experts in the field emphasize that while some of the data look promising, it is too early to narrow the field.