EXCLUSIVE: Drive speaks with one of the first Covid-19 vaccine test patients

coronavirus 19/03/2020

Magic Talk Drive host Ryan Bridge spoke with Neal Browning, one of 45 volunteers trialling the coronavirus vaccine in Seattle. Ryan begins the interview by thanking Neal for volunteering for the vaccine trials.

Neal is quick to share praise with the other volunteers and doctors working on the vaccine saying, “I really want you guys to know that there is 44 other volunteers doing this, as well as an amazing team at Kaiser Permanente here in Seattle.”

Neal describes scientists as, “working literally around the clock seven days a week, taking no time off, with a very small team and we’re all part of this.”

Ryan goes on to ask Neal how he is feeling and if he is feeling any side effects Neal confirms he has not suffered any side effects, “I feel completely normal, the mild side effect was the day after the injection, a little bit of a sore arm.”

If I can offer my body up for science so that others can end pain and suffering and limit the amount of deaths I have to do it.

He describes how this vaccine is a different type of vaccine compared to typical ones we are accustomed to, “there is no dead virus in this vaccine. It's a new type of vaccine and without getting too deep into the weeds; the injection teaches my body how to make an antigen, which is an evil cell that mimics the outer coating of the real coronavirus. White Blood cells should look at that, see it's something that shouldn't be here and attack it and learn how to create antibodies.

Neal goes on to detail to Ryan what the process of testing is like and how the doctors will ascertain as to whether or not the vaccine was successful, testing for elevated white blood cell levels which indicate they would recognise and attack the virus if present in the body.

“I go in once a week after injection for four weeks and I get blood drawn… get another dose of the vaccine and go through another four week cycle of weekly blood tests.”

“When they draw the blood from me they are looking to make sure that my white blood cell count is up so my body knows there's an infection present.”

Neal then describes his motivation for being a test patient for the vaccine, saying, "I am a healthy person and what's happening in the world is honestly a tragedy. Especially in some of the more affected areas."

"If I can offer my body up for science so that others can end pain and suffering and limit the amount of deaths I have to do it."

Listen to the full interview above.