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Do COVID-19 vaccines protect from silent coronavirus transmission? 6
And indeed, as you mentioned, the clinical studies to date do not tell us if COVID-19 vaccines protect from being a silent carrier of Coronavirus. And because the concentration of antibodies in the nasopharyngeal area could be less than antibody concentration in the lungs. So will we ever find out if a COVID-19 vaccine protects from coronavirus transmission? And how to determine that?
There are different models of looking at that. So there are direct studies that look at COVID-19 viral load. There are studies that look at protection against asymptomatic COVID-19 or coronavirus transmission. There are observational studies that look at indirect effects in populations. So there are different ways of assessing this. And many of these studies [of COVID-19 transmission] are ongoing or about to commence.
Is there any way to apply the current studies, all the data that’s been accumulated to try to tease out if COVID-19 vaccines reduce the actual transmission of the coronavirus? Or completely new studies will be required, and therefore huge new costs will be incurred?
I wouldn’t say that they will be as costly as the primary COVID-19 trials. You can do the COVID-19 transmission studies at reasonable costs. But yes, they always will be indirectly extrapolating from some of the data because some studies have already published an impact on asymptomatic COVID-19 cases. There are animal studies that look at the impact of COVID-19 vaccines on coronavirus transmission. But that’s indirect evidence. So we will have a body of evidence that will build in the next few months, we will have more certainty around this area.
How do you feel at the moment [about vaccines impact on COVID-19 trnsmission]? Is there any data you might have heard about regarding reducing COVID-19 transmission or being a “silent carrier”?
So there are data, animal data, that point to that [reduction of COVID-19 transmission by vaccines], at least for most of the COVID-19 vaccines. There are data on asymptomatic cases. But this is already data. And the fact that we know from biology that if a vaccine is 95% effective against severe disease, it is likely to have some effectiveness against transmission.
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