Researchers announced Tuesday that the first COVID-19 vaccine tested in the U.S. produced “neutralizing antibodies,” boosting people’s immune systems.

The vaccine was developed by Dr. Anthony Fauci’s colleagues at the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., running the test on 45 volunteers and yielding antibody results four times higher than those who had survived the COVID-19 virus. 

“No matter how you slice this, this is good news,” Fauci told the Associated Press.

The vaccine testing was done on healthy adults from the ages of 18 to 55, and side effects included flu-like symptoms such as body aches, chills, fatigue and muscle pain.

The next step will be administering the vaccine to 30,000 people, which would help in studying the vaccine’s effectiveness. That testing is set to begin on July 27. 

Dr. Fauci has been optimistic that a vaccine will be available for the public by the end of the year, or at the start of 2021, and in a chat with Georgetown Politics, said he believes that the virus will be a non-issue within 18 months.

Record High COVID-19 Cases in L.A. County

Just as news came in about a COVID-19 vaccine moving forward, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced that the county saw its largest number of single-day positive cases, with 4,244.

L.A. County also reported 2,103 hospitalizations, which is the highest since the start of the pandemic. Of those hospitalized by COVID-19, 27 percent have been treated in the ICU, while 19 percent are currently on ventilators. 

There were also 73 new COVID-19 deaths reported, 51 of them being over the age of 65. 

The positivity rate currently stands at 9 percent, more than the statewide goal to keep counties below 8 percent. As both Governor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti have stated in the past, the positivity rate is one of the main factors in deciding what businesses and operations to shut down.  

You Can Get COVID-19 Twice

Monday morning, the World Health Organization announced that recovering from the virus does not mean that one cannot get it again. 

In a press conference, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said that they do not know how long the immunity would last, but that studies in the U.K. have found that the antibodies “wane after a couple of months.”

With the developments of the vaccine studies, however, Fauci believes that herd immunity is possible and the goal is to get a vaccine that is effective for at least “one full seasonal cycle.”

“No vaccine is going to be 100 percent protective. What we hope is that — with the combination of people having already been exposed and a vaccine that’s anywhere from 70-75 percent protective — that there will be enough herd immunity that there will be a time when you and I don’t have to worry about getting infected with this awful virus,” Fauci said in an interview with Georgetown Politics on Tuesday.

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