OU Health Officials Discuss Development Of COVID-19 Research

Sunday, January 10th 2021, 7:26 pm


Researchers at the University of Oklahoma said they’ve been trying to crack the code of COVID-19 for the past year.

“Because this is a new type of virus, and we don’t have much of a knowledge base in how people are affected by it, we really have to pull all of our researchers throughout the United States to collect the data and find themes,” Jennifer Holter with OU Health’s Stephenson Cancer Center said.

Researchers said they didn’t walk in completely blind. Through pre-clinical and clinical research done over the past several years, they were able to get answers quickly which led to vaccine development.

“A lot of people are concerned about the fast track of vaccines, but many of these vaccines are built on platforms that have been studied for a very long time,” James Papin with the OU College of Medicine Department of Pathology said.

The Moderna and the Pfizer vaccine still went through the typical first phase, or pre-clinicals, in phase 1, phase 2 and phase 3 trials.

The third phase portion of a trial usually involve tens and thousands of people. The Moderna trial involved around 40,000 as did the Pfizer trial.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, over 100,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given out to Oklahomans so far. However, hospitals remain near capacity as positive cases continue to increase.

“We've been trying to learn how durable is immunity to this virus. How long lasting is it?” William Hildebrand with the OU Health Sciences Center Department of Microbiology and Immunology said. “This virus is more in the middle towards SARS and MERS, so we don't really know but so far the cell response is durable.”


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