The University of Louisiana at Lafayette played a role in the development of the very first vaccine that was developed to prevent Covid-19 infection, but it is not until now that the University was able to tell anyone about it because they were under a confidentiality agreement.

According to a press release from the university, the New Iberia Research Center played a pivotal role in proving the vaccine's safety so it could be used by the public.

Director of Contract Research at the NIRC Jane Fontenot says that they "....are so privileged to have been on the front lines of the fight against the pandemic.

The path to determine the vaccine's efficacy led to the use of the emergency vaccine in rhesus macaques. This was a part of the clinical trial process were technicians at the facility vaccinated the monkeys and then began the monitoring process.

Fontenot says this was crucial to bringing the ninety-five percent effective vaccine to the world as they had to observe was reactions the monkeys might have to the new vaccine. She says they were closely observed to determine things "that included evidence of pain, elevated temperatures, loss of appetite-any symptoms that may have raised concern about tolerability."

Now that an article that Fontenot co-authored in the journal Nature has appeared, the University can reveal its role in this life-saving vaccine.

Fontenot says the monkeys then were transferred to a Level 3 research facility in Texas that can handle research of airborne pathogens. There the monkey were exposed to Coronavirus, and the vaccine worked to ward off infection in the monkeys. It was then in December of last year that the Food and Drug Administration gave emergency authorization to use the vaccine that Pfizer.



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