Understanding Vaccine Studies

What types of vaccines and other preventives are being researched?

NIH institutes and centers, in partnership with private businesses, are studying many vaccine candidates and other types of preventives such as antibodies to see which are the safest and most effective at preventing COVID-19.

Vaccine studies

Several types of vaccine trials are currently enrolling participants with the goal of building immunity to the virus. These vaccines do not contain the actual virus and cannot cause COVID-19.

Monoclonal antibody studies

A study called BLAZE-2 is testing if lab-made antibodies can prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus from entering healthy cells. The antibodies cannot cause COVID-19.

Learn more about current vaccine and antibody research

Is a vaccine available?

Yes. Under emergency use authorizations from the FDA, COVID-19 vaccines are available and being administered to select populations in the United States.

Learn more from FDA

Where can I learn more about NIH-supported vaccine studies, and how can I get involved?

NIH launched a clinical trials network called the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN). The network builds on existing research to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine development and enroll volunteers in large-scale clinical trials to test vaccines and treatments.

By joining a vaccine research study, you can help create a vaccine for COVID-19 that will work for everyone.

Learn how you can participate

How will I know the vaccine is safe and effective?

Vaccines have very high safety standards, and the vaccines in development to prevent COVID-19 are no exception. Vaccines are approved by the FDA for use only if they have proven safe and effective in a large group of people.

Although the search for and development of the COVID-19 vaccines are happening very quickly, the FDA has made the safety standards and approval process even tougher than usual. The FDA set minimum requirements for the effectiveness of products to approve only those vaccines that could offer immunity to the majority of the population.  

Find more questions and answers about a COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine Resources

Follow the creation of a new vaccine and see the steps taken before a new vaccine or treatment is available to the public. (Available in Spanish)

Learn what to expect when you volunteer for a vaccine clinical trial.

Learn how vaccines are tested through the different phases of clinical trials.

Get the facts about COVID-19 vaccine studies.

Selected NIH-Published Vaccine Research

Haynes, B. F., Corey, L., Fernandes, P., Gilbert, P. B., Hotez, P. J., Rao, S., . . . Arvin, A. (2020). Prospects for a safe COVID-19 vaccine. Science Translational Medicine, 12(568), eabe0948. doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.abe0948

Hewitt, J. A., Lutz, C., Florence, W. C., Pitt, M. L. M., Rao, S., Rappaport, J., & Haigwood, N. L.; ACTIV Preclinical Working Group. (2020). ACTIVating resources for the COVID-19 pandemic: In vivo models for vaccines and therapeutics. Cell Host and Microbe, 18(5), 646659. doi:10.1016/j.chom.2020.09.016

Deming, M. E., Michael, N. L., Robb, M., Cohen, M. S., & Neuzil, K. M. (2020). Accelerating development of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines the role for controlled human infection modelsNew England Journal of Medicine, 383, e63. doi:10.1056/NEJMp2020076

Collins, F. S., & Stoffels, P. (2020). Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV): An unprecedented partnership for unprecedented times. JAMA, 323(24), 24552457. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.8920

Corey, L., Mascola, J. R., Fauci, A. S., & Collins, F. S. (2020). A strategic approach to COVID-19 vaccine R&D. Science, 368(6494), 948950. doi:10.1126/science.abc5312