Understanding Vaccine Studies
NIH institutes and centers, in partnership with private businesses, are studying many vaccine candidates to see which are the safest and most effective at preventing COVID-19.
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
These types of studies test antibodies made in a lab that are designed to prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus from entering healthy cells. The antibodies cannot cause COVID-19.
Yes. Under emergency use authorizations from the FDA, COVID-19 vaccines are available and being administered to select populations in the United States.
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.
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.
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), 646–659. 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 models. New 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), 2455–2457. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.8920