Local NewsCoronavirus


POTENTIAL GAME CHANGER: Vaccine for COVID-19 shows promising results, more data needed

President touts hydroxychloroquine as option
Moderna reports encouraging results from Phase 1 of COVID-19 vaccine trial
Posted at 9:23 PM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-19 09:24:04-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Healthcare experts from around the country are carefully watching an experimental vaccine which has shown promising results in initial phase testing.

Moderna Inc., a biotechnology company, made headlines on Monday after revealing a vaccine trial in which all 8 participants who received it, developed antibodies against COVID-19.

"It does seem to have some promise, I look at it with some cautious optimism," said Dr. David Di John, an associate professor of pediatrics at the UNLV School of Medicine.

According to the company, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration has fast-tracked the approval process and the vaccine will enter a phase 3 trial by July.

"This would be a really novel vaccine, there are none, to my knowledge at all, that are out in clinical use right now," added Dr. Di John.


Experts say the vaccine uses RNA, instead of a dead, or partial virus, to launch the body's immune system to guard against the virus.

"This is a different approach so it's very exciting and it has great potential, but we really need more data on whether or not this will truly work," explained Dr. Di John.

There are lingering questions as to whether a patient who receives the vaccine is truly protected from COVID-19 and for how long.

On Monday, President Trump revealed he has been taking hydroxychloroquine to ward off COVID-19.

"It's been around for 40 years for malaria, lupus, other things, I take it," said President Trump.

"Front line workers take it, a lot of doctors take it," added President Trump.

RELATED: UMC using hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 patients

The drug also goes by the name brand Plaquenil.

The president said he has been taking it for approximately the last 10 days under the guidance of the White House physician.

RELATED: Nevada Pharmacy Board joins Gov. Sisolak to stop COVID-19 'drug hoarding'

The drug made headlines in March when authorities began to examine it as a possible treatment for those infected with COVID-19.

Since then, the FDA issued a warning about the use of the drug and variant, chloroquine.

According to the FDA, the agency has received reports about serious heart troubles in patients who have taken drug.

Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19, according to the FDA.

Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can cause abnormal heart rhythms such as QT interval prolongation and a dangerously rapid heart rate called ventricular tachycardia. These risks may increase when these medicines are combined with other medicines known to prolong the QT interval, including the antibiotic azithromycin, which is also being used in some COVID-19 patients without FDA approval for this condition. Patients who also have other health issues such as heart and kidney disease are likely to be at increased risk of these heart problems when receiving these medicines.
Food & Drug Administration

The FDA indicates patients taking hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for FDA-approved indications to treat malaria or autoimmune conditions should continue taking their medicine as prescribed.

13 HELPS | Coronavirus Resource Guide