Doctor From Oklahoma Helps Lead Clinical Trials For COVID-19 Vaccine

Friday, December 18th 2020, 5:18 pm

An Oklahoman and OSU Health Sciences Graduate has a key role in vaccine research, focusing on the vaccine trials that resulted in two gaining approval in the last week.

Dr Julie Ledgerwood led a briefing Friday for 200 Oklahomans eager to hear more about the vaccine and her role in making sure it's safe and effective.

"There was quite a bit of safety data at the FDA which helped us move quickly into phase one testing," said Ledgerwood.

The trials started in March.

“I think it's worth noting we were able to do this in really record time, and I mean that literally," Ledgerwood said.

She described how research into new vaccines had her lab ready to work on the pandemic, as soon as the virus was sequenced last January 10.

Dr. Ledgerwood said at this point, researchers can only compare the Pfizer vaccine to convalescent plasma and the vaccine, after two weeks is more effective.

"Even after one dose, on day 15, they're 14 days into it, and they already have a robust response that is equal to or greater than a convalescent response," Ledgerwood said.

The trials and Ledgerwoods’ work contributes to the confidence scientists have in the first two COVID-19 vaccines that have reached the stage for approval. She said they're among the most effective vaccines ever made, but until everybody has it, the most effective prevention is still needed.

“We want people to continue preventing infection through masks, distancing and hand washing” she said.