The COVID-19 Vaccine: Inside America’s Race For An Answer

What is a vaccine, exactly? We’ve all gotten them, but have you ever wondered how they protect you from disease?

By Bonnie PetrieAugust 21, 2020 8:40 am, , , ,

From Texas Public Radio:

On this week’s Petrie Dish, we dive into the COVID-19 vaccine. First we answer: what is a vaccine? We’ve all gotten them, but have you ever wondered how they protect you from disease? Vaccine expert Joanne Turner gets into the nitty gritty of how vaccines work and walks us through the history of the first-ever vaccine, which treated another vicious virus that ravaged the world.

We also explore the hunt for a vaccine against the COVID virus. It began with a search for an animal that would get sick with COVID like a human, and might also respond to treatments as humans do. Researchers at Texas Biomedical Research Institute have found one: a mouse with human DNA. We’ll talk to one of the researchers working with these mice to see what scientists have learned.

We also visit the Texas’s border cities of Laredo and McAllen, where they know COVID-19 all too well. They’ve been struggling with rising cases and deaths all summer. But there’s another aspect of COVID-19 that is centered there: vaccine trial testing.

Both cities are test sites for Moderna, the company leading the race for the vaccine in the U.S. Some residents and leaders like Congressman Henry Cuellar have welcomed and even requested testing in the area.  But other residents, like 23-year-old Alberto Castilleja, still have questions and concerns. TPR visits the trial site in McAllen and looks at another grim outbreak in Laredo’s history.

Click here to listen to the full “Petrie Dish” podcast episode at Texas Public Radio, and listen to an excerpt in the audio player above.

If you found the reporting above valuable, please consider making a donation here. Your gift helps pay for everything you find on and Texas Public Radio. Thanks for donating today.