Therapeutics and Vaccines in the Fight Against COVID-19


  • HARRISH GANESH Aspiring Scientists' Summer Internship Program Intern
  • ALEX KASHANCHI Aspiring Scientists' Summer Internship Program Intern
  • Fatah Kashanchi Aspiring Scientists' Summer Internship Program Mentor
  • Anastasia Williams Aspiring Scientists' Summer Internship Program Co-mentor



The urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic created a high demand for quick, effective, and economical solutions. We analyzed four papers that investigated potential therapeutics and vaccines against COVID-19. Here, we report the chief results of these papers. Saffo et al. (2021) showed that when the immunosuppressant tocilizumab was given to 54 of 130 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in critical condition, no significant difference in survival rate after 30 days was observed between the experimental and control cohorts. Kaku et al. (2021) isolated anti-prototypic monoclonal antibodies from two convalescentCOVID-19 patients and tested their potency against novel SARS-CoV-2 variants. Neutralizing activity was maintained against B.1.1.7 and mink cluster 5, but it was reduced against B.1.351 and P.1. Li et al. (2021) collected 1,782 plasma samples from convalescent COVID-19 patients to analyze the natural IgG response. Although a significant decrease in IgG titer was shown after 4 months, the antibodies remained detectable for 12 months. Polack et al. (2020) placed the Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 vaccine under clinical trials in November 2020 and recorded the side effects and efficacy over two months. Although many mild side effects were reported, the vaccine efficacy was shown to be 95%. These data must be validated by future studies with improved experimental design and sample size. The papers published from these colleagues are a prime example of how current and future science draws strength and direction from prior scientific knowledge.





College of Science: School of Systems Biology