Multiple COVID-19 candidate vaccines are moving on to Phase 3 trials, inspiring hopes for an approved vaccine in the near future.
A local immunologist, who was involved in the early stages of coronavirus research, told NBC7 about the final phase.
Research done by Dr. Shane Crotty and his team at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology determined the level of immunity the average COVID-19 infected person required in order to defeat the disease.
Since then, trials conducted by other researchers have yielded multiple vaccine candidates that are safe and have a high immune response.
This final test is the hardest of all, Crotty said: Whether a vaccine candidates can prevent us from getting the virus.
"I'm really happy that the data looks good and that it looked good for different vaccines, so multiple different ideas for COVID-19 are all going forward," Crotty said.
Crotty’s team studied the life cycle of the average COVID-19 infection in a group of San Diegans. He was encouraged by the results, Crotty said.
"It is plausible you don't need a huge immune response or an amazing vaccine to be protected against it," Crotty said.
Crotty, like many other scientists, sees the possibility of a working vaccine developed by the end of the year but warns against false hopes.
"Right now, there is no direct evidence of a vaccine that works in people," Crotty said. "There should be no behaviors that change"
Distancing, wearing masks and washing your hands often are still the most effective ways we have now of stopping the spread.
If you're wondering what life looks like after the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, Crotty has an encouraging prognosis.
"If you have a good vaccine, then things go back to normal," Crotty said. "That has been the story of vaccines over the past 120 years," Crotty said. Dr. Crotty tells NBC7 the vaccines entering phase three trials are on track to be approved by the end of the year if they are found effective.