Eau Claire (WQOW) - With some COVID-19 vaccines going into the final stages of testing, the question remains how effective will they be at stopping the pandemic?
The ultimate goal of a vaccine is to create an artificially-induced immune response so when you come in contact with the virus your body can fight it off using memory it's built up.
Crystal Del Valle, an immunologist and biology professor at UW-Eau Claire, said these types of vaccines do work very effectively in most cases and can keep the majority of people safe.
Still, while these COVID vaccines are in their clinical trials the main obstacles appear to be how long the memory response in the body will last, and how quickly the agent is mutating.
"Whatever your immune response has learned to recognize from that infection agent, if that component mutates, you may no longer recognize it," Del Valle said. "So, it is a concern, but again we don't know for sure."
Del Valle said most vaccines can take months, or even years to go through clinical trials, and the COVID vaccine is being fast-tracked.
Even when trials are complete, mass production and distribution can delay its availability.