UNC researcher: Too early to approve any coronavirus vaccine, plasma treatment still uncertain
Ralph Baric, a coronavirus researcher at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, discusses vaccines for the virus, using plasma from infected people as a treatment and the case of a Hong Kong man who was infected twice.
by Corona Virus Headline Generating a lot of interest today. Ah, 33 year old man is the first documented case of reinfection. The New York Times first reported the case from researchers this morning out of Hong Kong, Here's what we know The man's first case, diagnosed March 26. At that time he had mild symptoms, however, was hospitalized and released in mid April. After back to back negative test, he tested positive a second time four months later, on August 15th, after a trip to Spain, he was asymptomatic the second time. Ah, Yale Research of the Times asked a weigh in on the study, said the man's immune response prevented the disease from getting worse and went on to call it a textbook example of how immunity should work with joining us tonight. To help put this into perspective. Dr. Ralph Baric Ah, familiar face on this newscast with you NC's School of Public Health Dr Barrick has always thanks for talking with us tonight. Pleasure to be here, David. Ah, lot of people may have seen this headline today and thought Whoa! Wait a minute. What is this about a reinfection? What is your response to this. Well, there have been, uh, over ah, 2 to 300 accidental cases of individuals who have been reinfected with stars to Corona virus. And this is not necessarily unique for, uh, any respiratory virus. Respiratory viruses in general can cause reinfection even after a first time exposure. The good news is that usually those infections, they're much more mild, demonstrating rather nicely that primary infection of the first time that you get infected with these types of viruses provide protective immunity that prevent more serious disease upon on re exposure. And it really comes down to immunity in your notes to some extent. Um, when you get a serious infection in your lung, you make a very strong immune response that prevents infection in the lower lung, which results in pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome to require ventilation. However, that immune response is not usually extremely effective at preventing infection in your nose and your upper airways, and you're very high upper airways leading to long and sit back and allow for low level infection on the sniffles. And so I view this this, uh, very clear documented case of a secondary infection as good news um, that happened. That is a harbinger for, um, the fact that the vaccines will likely have a very good chance of success of protecting against serious disease, Dr Barry Earlier today, the president hinted at a development later this week. Over the weekend, the Financial Times reported the White House was considering a plan to allow emergency use authorization for AstraZeneca, the vaccine in the works in the UK Are there any vaccines out there now where this might be viable, and would it be safe? In my opinion, it's premature to, um, began emergency. Provide emergency authorization for any of the vaccines that are under development. Vaccines have tremendous potential at providing protective immunity that will protect populations. But we, in essence, are out bread, animals, eso, our family trees air heavily branched. And that means there's a tremendous amount of genetic variation across individuals within our country and around the world. And until you do the large phase three studies that involve 30,000 people, you don't really have a good idea in terms of how well that vaccines going to provide a strong protection from a very diverse population. Take the AstraZeneca vaccine, for example, the the neutralizing antibody responses that are listed it by that back. That vaccine are quite low is compared to some of the other vaccines that have been tested in phase one trials in humans. So is that the best vaccine? I think it's premature and we need to do these feet Phase three testing not only to demonstrate efficacy and safety, but to provide the public with confidence that the scientific community is doing everything they can to provide a safe and reliable product to a very diverse population. Dr. Barrick, You and see one of the sites offering phase three trials were so hungry for information and for breakthrough. Anything positive you can tell us keeping that message focused about where we are. I know it's early, but what do you see on the horizon? Well, I think we have, ah, several very good vaccine candidates that are moving into phase three trials from the during a is in the lead in United States. They have already started, um, enrolling patients who have received the vaccine of placebo. UNC Chapel Hill, I believe, starts tomorrow or sometime this week for sure. Uh, I myself has also volunteered to receive the vaccine. Over the weekend, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for treatment using convalescent plasma. How effective is this? The convalescent plasma therapy has been around for about 100 years. And the idea is is that when you've been exposed to a pathogen, you make proteins called antibodies his job. It is to seek out and destroy virus infected particles. And so the idea if you take plasma from individuals who have survived infection, they will have antibodies. And those antibodies, when delivered to on infected covert 19 patients, should provide some light level protection. There have been numerous studies across the United States. Uh, no. Definitive studies have actually demonstrated conclusively that those the convalescent plasma, um, is extremely effective. The majority of data suggests that the earlier earlier that the product is delivered to a patient more likely you'll have a positive outcome in terms of, um, quicker road to recovery and perhaps slightly higher chances of survivability from infection. Dr. Ben Gardiner Rob, who have about 30 seconds left. I'm just curious. Duke tested students as they came back. Should the U. N. C. System have made sure the schools did the same well the UNC system had testing in place, I think I think all the schools across the country were surprised at the ah, at the rate where the explosive, the rate of explosive spread of the virus through the college prop population. And part of that is due to ah NIU students coming into a novel environment. Um, the very nature of university settings to be highly interactive places that you know, that since promote social gatherings. And ah, and so I think that's unfortunate. Yeah. Um, we will continue to follow this Doctor. Barry, you have given us so much information tonight. We thank you. We always appreciate your time. That's a pleasure to be here, David.