Tuesday, May 26, 2020
May 26, 2020

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Vaccine testing on primates underway

Army researchers at Maryland’s Fort Detrick part of clinical trials


BALTIMORE — Army researchers at Fort Detrick in Frederick began testing possible vaccines for the coronavirus on animals Monday, Department of Defense officials announced.

The United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases is performing the tests on “nonhuman primates,” said Jonathan Hoffman, the department’s assistant to the secretary of defense for public affairs, at a Pentagon press briefing Monday.

The Defense Department is involved in five clinical vaccine trials while also supporting the efforts of other federal agencies, said Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul Friedrichs, Joint Staff surgeon.

“I think it’s important for everyone to keep in mind that this is a process that is going as quickly as it can,” Friedrichs said. “We’re balancing, again, that risk of how do we make sure any vaccine candidates are safe?”

After the animal trials, the testing will move to a small group of people in hopes of expanding to a larger group, Friedrichs said.

Citing federal health officials, Friedrichs noted that these efforts don’t guarantee a vaccine in the near future.